Annual cycle of freshwater diatoms in the High Arctic

Study of survival strategies in natural diatom communities in High Arctic

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Project type

  • field work
  • long-term monitoring


  • terrestrial biology

Project Keywords

  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / rivers/streams
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / lakes
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / wetlands

Fieldwork information

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The main aim of the project is the study of annual cycle of polar freshwater diatoms to reveal their overwintering strategy. Diatoms are very important primary producers in the extreme environment of the High Arctic. However, it remains unknown, which strategy enables them to survive long polar winters. Morphology and viability of diatom cells will be studied in natural samples collected during one year. We hypothesize that only a small amount of cells survive winter season and that diatoms do not form any morphologically different stages for survival. The project will be conducted on the Czech Arctic Research Station of Josef Svoboda in Longyearbyen. One sampling site, a shallow wetland with high abundance of diatoms that is situated close to the town was already chosen. For viability evaluation, a multiparameter fluorescent staining (SYTOX Green, CTC and DAPI combination) will be introduced and combined with light microscopy evaluation.

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