Variation in leaf colour (green, red and grey) of mosses and lake benthic mats in Antarctica is often linked to water stress and ultraviolet light (UV-B) exposure. Changes in the abundance of organic compounds, such as pectin and phenols, are associated with mechanisms protecting against desiccation and UV radiation. However, the function of n-alkanes, especially against UV radiation, is rarely examined. Here, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analyses were performed to study the variation in n-alkanes in freshwater lake benthic mats and mosses collected from the Larsemann Hills in East Antarctica. Stable isotopes of organic carbon and nitrogen, environmental DNA characterisation and microscopy-based analyses are used to estimate the presence of cyanobacteria, algae and diatoms in moss and benthic mat consortia. Variation in the short-chain (n-C17 to n-C20) versus long-chain (n-C21 to n-C30) n-alkanes in the mosses and benthic mats with their colour were noted. The research links the relative abundance of short-chain n-alkanes to the UV-B exposure and proposes that Antarctic mosses and benthic mats synthesise short-chain n-alkanes for protection against UV-B.
Bibliographical noteGreen Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.
- Benthic mat
- Larsemann Hills
- Ultraviolet radiation