Laser-induced fluorescence emission (LIFE) from Lake Fryxell (Antarctica) cryoconites


Laser-induced fluorescence emission (LIFE) images were obtained in situ from a 27 cm longice core at Lake Fryxell, Antarctica. The excitation was accomplished with a simple 532nm green laser pen light, and the fluorescence images were captured with a small compact digital camera. The targets for the experiment were mm-scale cryoconite assemblages found in the ice covers of this perennially frozen Antarctic lake. The fluorescence response originates from photo-pigments in cyanobacteriadominated cryoconite assemblages with phycoerythrin (PE) exhibiting the optimal target cross section. This inexpensive, low-mass, low-energy method avoids manipulation of the in situ habitat and individual target organisms and does not disturb the microbial community or the surrounding ice matrix. We establish the correlation between fluorescence intensity and PE concentration.We show that cryoconite fluorescence response does not appear to decrease with depth in the ice cover, in agreement with similar findings at Lake Untersee, a perennially ice-covered lake in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Optical reflection and refraction events at the air/ice interface can complicate quantitative estimates of total pigment concentrations. Laser targeting of a single mm-scale cryoconite can result in multiple neighboring excitation events secondary to reflection and refraction phenomena in the multiple air/ice interface of the bubbles surrounding the primary target.




Sattler B, Storrie-Lombardi MC, Foreman CM, Tilg M, Psenner R, "Laser-induced fluorescence emission (LIFE) from Lake Fryxell (Antarctica) cryoconites," Annals Glaciology, 2010 51(56):145-152.
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