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Abstract

A total of sixty five taxa of marine phytoplankton (diatoms, dinoflagellates, silicoflagellates and cyanoprokaryotes) were recorded in the transect from the cold region of the Antarctic (Weddell Sea) up to La Plata Bay, Argentine in the late austral summer (March 1989). Diatoms were the dominant group in a south-north transect from the Seal-Bay (Princess Martha Land, the Antarctic). Most of the phytoplankton species of the cold Antarctic region disappeared around 50°S where there is a steep water temperature gradient. The diatom flora declined in the regions of increasing temperature, i.e. between 60° and 50° S and was replaced by dinoflagellates of the genus Ceratium. Large centric diatom genera Corethron, Rhizosolenia, Chaetoceros and Dactyliosolen represented the most apparent phytoplankton part. The most common of the small centric diatom genera were Thalassiosira, Asteromphalus, Actinocyclus and Coscinodiscus, while several species of Navicula and Nitzschia were the most abundant pennate forms. The presence of a considerable number of freshwater pennate diatoms, characterized as indifferent in the halobion spectrum and mostly periphytic, might be attributed to survival strategies during their development on the floating coastal ice.
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