Algae of terrestrial biotopes near the Russian Antarctic scientific station Bellingshausen, King George Island

  • Andrey Burdo Department for Applied Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • Valentina Nikitina Department for Applied Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • Evgeny Abakumov Department of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Biology, Saint Petersburg State University, 16th Liniya V. O., 29, Saint Petersburg, 199178, Russian Federation


The biodiversity of algae of anthropogenically and technogenically disturbed terrestrial biotopes at the Bellingshausen Station of King George Island has been revealed. Fifty-three species of algae from five divisions were detected. Representatives of the cyanobacteria division dominated in the biotope studied. Almost all species belong to benthic forms, which corresponds well with the nature and origin of the biotopes. Differences in the composition of algocoenoses which developed on ornithogenic, mineral or anthropogenically polluted substrates were noted and characterized. The features of participation of different morphological types of algae in the process of organic mat formation have been emphasized. The biotopes of polar station surroundings were characterized by the dominance of cyanobacteria. Endemic species were not found.


Antarctica, King George Island, algae, terrestrial biotopes, algal flora, biodiversity


Download data is not yet available.


Andreeva, V. М. 1998. Soil and aerophilic green algae (Chlorophyta: Tetrasporales, Chlorococcales, Chlorosarcinales). 351 p. (In Russian)

Andreeva, V. М. 2011. Motionless green microalgae (Chlorophyta) from the soil of Bellingshausen station (King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica). Novosti sistematiki nizshikh rastenii 45:3–16. (In Russian)

Andreeva, V. M. and Kurbatova, L. E. 2014. Soil and aerophilic motionless green microalgae (Chlorophyta) from areas of work of the Russian Antarctic Expedition. Novosti sistematiki nizshikh rastenii 48:12–26. (In Russian)

Barinova, S. S., Medvedeva, L. A., and Anisimova, O. V. 2006. Diversity of algal indicators in environmental assessment. 498 p. (In Russian)

Belyakova, R. N. 1987. Blue-green algae of King George Island (Antarctica). Novosti sistematiki nizshikh rastenii 24:13–22. (In Russian)

Birkenmajer, K. 1989. Geology and climatostratigraphy of Tertiary glacial and interglacial successions on King George Island, South Shetland Islands (West Antarctica). Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie 1:141–151.

Broady, P. A. 1996. Diversity, distribution and dispersal of Antarctic terrestrial algae. Biodiversity and Conservation 5:1307–1335.

Brock, T. D. 1978. Thermophilic microorganisms and life at high temperatures. Springer Series in Microbiology. 465 p.

Carlson, G. W. F. 1913. Süsswasseralgen aus der Antarktis, Südgeorgien und den Falkland Inseln. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der schwedischen Südpolar-Expedition 1901–1903 unter Leitung von Dr. O. Nordenskjöld 4(14):94 p.

Chaplygina, O. Ya., Smirnova, S. V., and Balashova, N. B. 2017. Algae and Cyanoprokaryotes from the grounds of the Clemens massif (Prince Charles Mountains, Antarctica). Botanical Journal 102(4):477–493. (In Russian)

Convey, P., Gibson, J. A., Hillenbrand, C. D., Hodgson, D. A., Pugh, P. J., Smellie, J. L., and Stevens, M. I. 2008. Antarctic terrestrial life — challenging the history of the frozen continent? Biological Reviews 83(2):103–117.

Davey, M. C. and Rothery, P. 1993. Spatial variation in environmental factors and primary colonisation of Antarctic fellfield soils by microalgae. Journal of Ecology 81(2):335–343.

Elenkin, A. A. 1949. The blue-green algae of the USSR. Monograph of freshwater and terrestrial Cyanophyceae found within the USSR. Special (systematic) part. Vol. 2. 920 p. (In Russian)

Friedmann, E. I., Kappen, L., Meyer, M. A., and Nienow, J. A. 1993. Long-term productivity in the cryptoendolithic microbial community of the Ross Desert, Antarctica. Microbial Ecology 25(1):51–69.

Fritsch, F. E. 1912. Freshwater algae. Reports of the National Antarctic Expedition 1901–1904. Natural History 6:1–66.

González Garraza, G., Mataloni, G., Fermani, P., and Vinocur, A. 2011. Ecology of algal communities of different soil types from Cierva Point, Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology 34:339–351.

Graham, L. E., Graham, J. M., and Wilcox, L. W. 2009. Algae (2nd edition). 640 p.

Guiry, M. D. and Guiry, G. M. 2019. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Haus, W., Serrano, E., and Bockheim, J. G. 2014. Soils and landforms from Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island, Maritime Antarctica. Geomorphology 225:76–86.

Hirano, M. 1965. Freshwater algae in the Antarctic regions. Biogeography and Ecology in Antarctica 15:127–193.

Hollerbach, M. M. and Shtina, E. A. 1969. Soil algae. 228 p. (In Russian)

Hollerbach, M. M., Kosinskaya, E. K., and Polyansky, V. I. 1953. Qualifier of algae of the USSR. Vol. 2. Blue-green algae. 651 p. (In Russian)

Hooker, J. D. 1847. The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H.M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839–1843. 1–66.

Komárek, J. 1999. Diversity of Cyanoprokaryotes (Cyanobacteria) of King George Island, maritime Antarctica — a survey. Algological Studies 94:181–193.

Komárek, J. 2013. Süßwasserflora von Mitteleuropa. Cyanoprokaryota: 3. Teil / Part 3: Heterocystous genera. 19/3: XVIII, 1130 p.

Komárek, J. and Anagnostidis, K. 1999. Süßwasserflora von Mitteleuropa. Cyanoprokaryota: 1. Teil / Part 1: Chroococcales. 19/1: VI, 548 p.

Komárek, J. and Anagnostidis, K. 2005. Süßwasserflora von Mitteleuropa. Cyanoprokaryota: 2. Teil / Part 2: Oscillatoriales. 19/2: IX, 759 p.

Komárek, J. and Elster, J. 2008. Ecological background of Cyanobacterial assemblages of the northern part of James Ross Island, NW Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Polish Polar Research 29:17–32.

Komárek, O. and Komárek, J. 2010. Diversity and ecology of cyanobacterial microflora of Antarctic seepage habitats: comparison of King George Island, Shetland Islands, and James Ross Island, NW Weddell Sea, Antarctica; pp. 515–539 in: Seckbach, J., Oren, A., editors, Microbial mats: modern and ancient microorganisms in stratified systems. Dordrecht: Springer.

Koob, D. D. 1967. Algae distribution. Terrestrial life of Antarctica 5:13–15.

Mataloni, G. and Pose, M. 2001. Non-marine algae from islands near Cierva Point, Antarctic Peninsula. Cryptogam Algologie 22:41–64.

Mataloni, G., Vinocur, A., and de Tezanos Pinto, P. 2005. Abiotic characterization and epilithic communities of a naturally enriched stream at Cierva Point, Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science 17(2):163–170.

Mausbacher, R., Muller, J., Munnich, M., and Schmidt, R. 1989. Evolution of postglacial sedimentation in Antarctic lakes (King Georges Island). Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 33:219–234.

Melechin, A. V., Davydov, D. A., Shalygin, S. S., and Borovichev, E. A. 2013. Open information system on biodiversity cyanoprokaryotes and lichens CRIS. Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists, Biological Series 118(6):51–56. (In Russian)

Namsaraev, Z., Mano, M. J., Fernandez, R. and Wilmotte, A. 2010. Biogeography of terrestrial cyanobacteria from Antarctic ice-free areas. Annals of Glaciology 51:171–177.

Nikitina, V. N. 1983. Blue-green algae of mineral and thermal springs of the Kronotsky Reserve. Vestnik Leningradskogo Universiteta 15(3):47–53. (In Russian)

Nikolaev, V. A. 1975. A trip to King George Island (Antarctica). Botanical Journal 60(7):1031–1043. (In Russian)

Pankow, H., Haendel, D., and Richter, W. 1991. Die Algenflora der Schirmacheroase (Ostantarktika). Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia 103:197.

Petrov, Yu. E. 1984. Quantitative indices of the development of soil algae near Bellingshausen station. Proceedings of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition 79 p. (In Russian)

Round, F. E. 1981. The ecology of Algae. 653 p.

Russell, S. and Smith, R. I. L. 1993. New significance for Antarctic biological collections and taxonomic research. Proceedings of the NIPR Symposium on Polar Biology 6:152–165.

Schwabe, G. H. 1933. Beobachtungen über thermalische Schichtungen in Thermalgewassern auf Island. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 26:187–196.

Schwabe, G. H. 1947. Blaualgen und Lebensraum, I. Beitrage zur Ökologie und Systematik. Acta Botanica Taiwanica 1:3–59.

Shnyukova, E. I. 2002. Exopolysaccharides of Cyanophyta. Algology 12(1):34–38. (In Russian)

Shtina, E. A. and Hollerbach, M. M. 1976. Ecology of soil algae. 143 p. (In Russian)

Shtina, E.A. 1985. Soil algae as pioneers of overgrowing of technogenic substrates and indicators of the state of disturbed lands. Journal of General Biology 46(4):435–443. (In Russian)

Simonov, I. M. 1977. Physical geographic description of the Fildes Peninsula (South Shetland Islands). Polar Geography 1:223–242.

Singh, S. M., Singh, P., and Thajuddin, N. 2008. Biodiversity and distribution of Cyanobacteria at Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. Acta Botanica Malacitana 33:17–28.

Smith, R. I. L. 1984. Terrestrial plant biology of the Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic. Antarctic Ecology 1:61–162.

Stockner, J. G. 1967. Observations of thermophilic algae communities in Mount Rainier and Jellowstone National Parks. Limnology and Oceanography 12:13–17.

Vasser, S. P., Kondratyeva, N. V., Masyuk, N. P., et al. 1989. Algae. Reference book. 608 p. (In Russian)

Vincent, W. F. 1988. Microbial Ecosystems of Antarctica. XIII, 304 p.

Vincent, W. F. 2000. Evolutionary origins of Antarctic microbiota: invasion, selection and endemism. Antarctic Science 12:374–385.

Vincent, W. F. and James, M. R. 1996. Biodiversity in extreme aquatic environments: lakes, ponds and streams of the Ross streams of the Ross sea sector, Antarctica. Biodiversity and Conservation 5:1451–1472.

Vinocur, A. and Maidana, N. I. 2010. Spatial and temporal variations in moss-inhabiting summer diatom communities from Potter Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica). Polar Biology 33:443–455.

Wen, J., Xie, Z., Han, J., and Lluberas, A. 1994. Climate, mass balance and glacial changes on small dome of Collins Ice Cap, King George Island, Antarctica. Antarctic Research 5(1):52–61.

West, W. and West, G. S. 1911. Freshwater algae. British Antarctic Expedition, 1907–1909. Reports on the Scientific Investigations: Biology 1:263–298.

Wynn-Williams, D. D. 1992. Epifluorescence image analysis of the 3D structure of phototrophic microbial biofilms at Antarctic soil surfaces. Binary: Computing in Microbiology 4:53–57.

Wynn-Williams, D. D. 1993. Microbial processes and initial stabilization of fellfield. Primary Succession on Land 12:17–32.

Wynn-Williams, D. D. 1994. Potential effects of ultraviolet radiation on Antarctic primary terrestrial colonizers: Cyanobacteria, algae and cryptogams. Antarctic Research Series 62:243–257.

How to Cite
Burdo, A., Nikitina, V., & Abakumov, E. (2019). Algae of terrestrial biotopes near the Russian Antarctic scientific station Bellingshausen, King George Island. Biological Communications, 64(3), 189–200.
Full communication

Most read articles by the same author(s)