The photosynthetic activity of endolithic communities at three sites in the Ross Sea Region, including Mt Falconer in the Taylor Valley, Linnaeus Terrace in the Asgard Range, the Nussbaumriegel in the Taylor Valley, Battleship Promontory and Granite Harbour was studied in situ. Microsensors were installed at all field locations in boreholes in sample rocks to measure oxygen concentration, pH and ... chlorophyll fluorescence at various depths. Microclimate sensors were installed and measured ambient air temperature and relative air humidity 30 cm above the rock surface, rock surface temperature, stone temperature, (5cm deep), soil temperature (20cm deep) temperature of the chasmoendolithic habitat at two different points and ambient light intensity (PAR). Rocks with endolithic organisms were sampled and analysed for biodiversity and compared among the different sites. Dry samples were analysed for community structure by microscopical examination (TEM, SEM, fluorescence microscopy and confocal microscopy with and without staining) and compared to the source location to interpret the effects of altitude and rock type. Field experiments were conducted to measure how long photosystem II was active in the chasmoendolithic habitat by measuring photosynthetic yield over 24 hours and generating a light response curve and the photosynthetic activity after the endolithic algae had been uncovered by chiselling. Samples were also analysed for total biomass, chlorophyll a content, 14C age, stable isotopes (nitrogen and carbon), morphological and genetic diversity studies, test for alkalisation, CO2 gas exchange capacity, photosynthetic capacity, radiocarbon dating of age, isolation and cultivation of characteristic species.
The data is reported in the publication. All samples and other data is held mainly by Dr Leo Sancho in Madrid, Spain. Please contact either Dr Leo Sancho or Professor Allan Green for more information.
De los Rios, A. Wierzchos, J. Sancho, L.G. Ascaso, C. Exploring the physiological state of continental Antarctic endolithic microorganisms by microscopy. FEMS microbiology ecology 50: 143-152, 2004.
De los Rios, A. Sancho, L.G. Grube, M. Wierzchos, J. Ascaso, C. Endolithic growth of two Lecidea lichens in granite from continental Antarctica detected by molecular and ... microscopy techniques. New phytologist 165: 181-190, 2005.
de los Rios, A. Wierzchos, J. Sancho, L.G. Ascaso, C. Acid microenvironments in microbial biofilms of Antarctic endolithic microecosystems. Environmental microbiology 5(4): 231-237, 2003.
de los Rios, A. Wierzchos, J. Sancho. L.G. Green, T.G.A. Ascaso, C. 2005. Ecoloyg of endolithic lichens colonizing granite in continental Antarctica. Lichenologist 37 (5): 383-395.
Wierzchos, J. de los Rios, A. Sancho, L.G. Green, T.G.A. Ascaso, C. The integrated microscopical study of Antarctic endolithic microorganisms and their microhabitats. In: Antarctic Biology in a Global Context.Huiskes A.H.L. Gieskes W.W.C. Rozema J. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers. 2003. pp.152-156 ISBN 90578079X
Wierzchos, J. Ascaso, C. Sancho, L.G. Green, T.G.A. Iron-rich diagenetic minerals are biomarkers of microbial activity in Antarctic rocks. Geomicrobiology journal 20: 15-24, 2003.
Wierzchos, J. de los Rios, A. Sancho, L.G. Ascaso, C. Viability of endolithic micro-organisms in rocks from the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica established by confocal and fluorescence microscopy. Journal of microscopy 216: 57-61, 2004.
Wierzchos, J. Sancho, L.G. Ascaso, C. Biomineralization of endolithic microbes in rocks from the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica: implications for microbial fossil formation and their detection. Environmental microbiology 7(4): 566-575, 2005.
Budel, B., Bendix, J., Bicker, F.R. And Green, T.G.A. 2008. Dewfall as a water source frequently activates the endolithic cyanobacterial communities in the granites of Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Journal of Phycology 44: 1415-1424.