Eukarya biodiversity in the Thala Hills, East Antarctica
Knowledge of the biodiversity of the Thala Hills oasis (Enderby Land, East Antarctica) is very limited. Here, we integrate all information available since 1962, when the Russian ‘Molodyozhnaya’ station was established in the western part of the oasis. The published data on local eukaryote diversity (lichens, embryophytes, metazoans) include records of 90 species. Since 2008, Belarusian Antarctic Expedition researchers have worked in the eastern part of the oasis, accessible from the Belarusian station ‘Vechernyaya Mount'. This research revealed 95 species, including 44 species not recorded in the earlier published literature. The level of available information is uneven across major taxa. Lichens are the better-known group, with 51 species recorded in total, including 13 species recently recorded for the first time in the oasis. New records were also obtained for rotifers. Thala Hills biodiversity is consistent with wider patterns of Antarctic biogeography, with a high proportion of regionally endemic species (especially metazoans), the occurrence of both endemic and bipolar species of lichens and generally low numbers of cosmopolitan species (largely limited to aquatic rotifers, with the caveat that up-to-date taxonomic studies are required). The lack of data on marine macrobenthos, soil nematodes and terrestrial rotifers emphasizes the need for studies focusing on these groups.
Authors: Lukashanets, Dzmitry A., Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Borodin, Oleg I., Miamin, Vladislav Ye., Hihiniak, Yury H., Gaydashov, Alexey A., Yatsyna, Aleksander P., Vezhnavets, Vasil V., Maysak, Natalia N., Shendrik, Tatsiana V.