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The Cryptoendolithic Microbial Environment in the Ross Desert of Antarctica: Light in the Photosynthetically Active Region

James A. Nienow, Christopher P. McKay and E. Imre Friedmann
Microbial Ecology
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Nov., 1988), pp. 271-289
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4251023
Page Count: 19
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The Cryptoendolithic Microbial Environment in the Ross Desert of Antarctica: Light in the Photosynthetically Active Region
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Abstract

The vertical zonation of the Antarctic cryptoendolithic community appears to form in response to the light regime in the habitat. However, because of the structure of the habitat, the light regime is difficult to study directly. Therefore, a mathematical model of the light regime was constructed, which was used to estimate the total photon flux in different zones of the community. Maximum fluxes range from about 150 μm photons m-2 s-1 at the upper boundary of the community to about 0.1 μm photons m-2 s-1. Estimates of the annual productivity in the community indicate that the lowest zone of the community is light limited, with the maximal annual carbon uptake equivalent to less than the carbon content of one algal (Hemichloris) cell.

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