AME 26:115-125 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/ame026115

Artificial cold-adapted microbial mats cultured from Antarctic lake samples. 1. Formation and structure

Evelyne Buffan-Dubau, Olivier Pringault*, Rutger de Wit**

Station Marine d¹Arcachon, Laboratoire d¹Océanographie Biologique CNRS UMR 5805, Université Bordeaux-1, 2 rue du Professeur Jolyet, 33120 Arcachon, France
*Present address: Centre IRD de Nouméa, BP A5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia **Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Artificial microbial mats were cultured at 4 to 7°C in benthic gradient chambers using inocula of Antarctic lake mats (Lake Fryxell, Dry Valleys). Their formation and structure were studied based on both HPLC pigment quantification and microsensor measurements of oxygen profiles. Accretion rates (2 to 5 mm within the year) were consistent with previous estimations for artificial mats cultured at 17 to 25°C, suggesting that the microbial community was cold-adapted. Mats were vertically structured comprising an upper green layer dominated by cyanobacteria and an underlying pink layer including purple non-sulphur phototrophic bacteria. Pigment contents indicated that both groups of cyanobacteria (Oscillatoriacae and possibly Nostoc sp.) adopted different patterns of vertical distributions within the mats. Heterogeneity of oxygen vertical distributions was determined, and net primary productivity rates were in the range of those previously reported for natural Antarctic microbial mats. Collective considerations of pigment contents and primary productivity strongly suggest that artificial mats presented some characteristics of natural polar mats, although some differences were established.


KEY WORDS: Antarctica · Artificial mats · Psychroptrophs · Pigments · HPLC · Net productivity


Full text in pdf format