The database: Web of Science.
The timespan: Year 2013 (more papers will be added next months but they will be accounted next year).
Search: the combined list for two searches “salt lake or saline lake” and “salinity and lake”.
The result is 573 papers (with about 10% not relevant to saline lakes research). Thus, the final number is close to 500 papers. This is very small field of research in comparison with approximately 8000 papers on the search “lake”, 11000 – “ocean” or 21000 – “sea”. On the other hand I should be happy that the field is so small. It would be impossible to analyze more than 500 papers.
The saline lake science is still US and China based, focused on geosciences and microbiology. There are few papers that are describing food-web studies that are typical for inland freshwater limnology. The Top5 active countries and organisations, most popular journals and science categories are below.
Year 2013. Saline lakes science in papers
The most interesting task was to select best papers. The approach was traditional – to rank papers on the basis of the journal impact-factors and pick up several from different categories. The list is my personal selection and anybody can produce alternative (if he/she as crazy as me and want to do the same job).
Year 2013. Top papers in saline lake science
1. Ricardo Cavicchioli with his colleagues studied the haloarchaea in an isolated Antarctic hypersaline lake. By analyzing metagenome data and genomes of four isolates scientists assessed genome variation and patterns of gene exchange to learn how the lake community evolved. The lake is completely dominated by haloarchaea that differs greatly to temperate and tropical hypersaline environments. They demonstrated that lake ecosystem sustains a high level of intergenera gene exchange while selecting for ecotypes that maintain sympatric speciation. The peculiarities of this polar system restrict which species can grow and provide a tempo and mode for accentuating gene exchange.
2. Colin Murrell with colleagues from India, Australia and Germany published paper on the microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes. Soda lakes are saline and alkaline ecosystems that are believed to have existed throughout the geological record of Earth. The unusual geochemistry of these lakes supports the growth of various microorganisms that are of ecological and economic importance. Complex microbial food webs that consist of diverse functional groups of microbes, such as methanogens, methanotrophs, phototrophs, denitrifiers, sulfur oxidizers, sulfate reducers and syntrophs are typical for soda lakes. Many of these microorganisms harbor biotechnologically relevant enzymes and biomolecules. Importantly, many soda lakes are located in vulnerable to climate change and anthropogenic pressures biomes such as deserts and steppes and should be protected from this threats.
3. Krassimira Hristova with several co-authors published nice biotechnological research on the selenium biotransformations in an engineered aquatic ecosystem for bioremediation of agricultural wastewater via brine shrimp production. Brine shrimps are one of the flag species for saline lakes. They are important food sources for large populations of waterfowl, breeding, and migratory shore birds and widely commercially used as a fish food. The artificial aquatic ecosystem was an ideal model that mimics trophic interactions in a selenium polluted wetland. Inorganic selenate in drainage water was metabolized differently in microalgae, bacteria, and diatoms where it was accumulated and reduced into various inorganic forms or partially incorporated into organic selenium. Brine shrimp and brine fly larva bioaccumulated selenium from ingesting aquatic microorganisms and further metabolized selenium. Importantly, adult brine flies, which hatched from aquatic larva, bioaccumulated the highest selenium concentrations of all organisms tested.
4. Somayeh Sima with Iranian colleagues mapped surface temperature in a hypersaline lake Urmia and investigating the effect of temperature distribution on the lake evaporation. The lake Urmia is shrinking lake that is typical for many saline lakes located in arid climate. The reason of shrinking is either the effect of climate or the anthropogenic pressure (or combination of both of them) and the challenge is how to manage the processes. The water surface temperature of Urmia Lake was examined from 2007 to 2010, using MODIS land surface temperature products. Using validated MODIS-derived water surface temperature, the annual temperature cycles of Urmia Lake were extracted demonstrating the monthly lake-averaged variations of the lake water surface temperature. According to the results of the energy balance method, a 147 mm/year (515 million m3) discrepancy can be expected in the estimated evaporation rate when the spatial distribution in the lake water surface temperature is considered in the energy balance equation. Use of the distributed satellite-derived water surface temperature in estimating evaporation from the lake improved the accuracy of water loss in the lake water budget calculation.
5. Dan Wilkins and several co-authors studied the holocene lake-level fluctuations in Lakes Keilambete and Gnotuk in Australia. Reconstructed Holocene lake-level curves from two saline crater lakes show near synchronous lake-level changes throughout the Holocene. Both crater lakes show a short-lived maximum in Holocene lake levels around 7000 years ago. The period of peak lake levels matches the phase of most effective precipitation. Water levels oscillated with a periodicity of around 300–700 years, before reaching a late-Holocene lowest level around 1300-1800 years ago. The trend and periodicity of oscillations in the water levels suggest that temperature may be a significant component in influencing the Precipitation/Evaporation (P/E) ratio in southeastern Australia during the Holocene.
Matthew Z. DeMaerea, Timothy J. Williamsa, Michelle A. Allena, Mark V. Browna, John A. E. Gibsonc, John Richa, Federico M. Lauroa, Michael Dyall-Smithd, Karen W. Davenporte, Tanja Woykef, Nikos C. Kyrpidesf, Susannah G. Tringef, & Ricardo Cavicchiolia (2013). High level of intergenera gene exchange shapes the evolution of haloarchaea in an isolated Antarctic lake PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1307090110
Antony, Chakkiath Paul, Kumaresan, Deepak, Hunger, Sindy, Drake, Harold L., Murrell, J. Colin, & Shouche, Yogesh S. (2013). Microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes ISME JOURNAL DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2012.137
Schmidt, Radomir, Tantoyotai, Prapakorn, Fakra, Sirine C., Marcus, Matthew A., Yang, Soo In, Pickering, Ingrid J., Banuelos, Gary S., Hristova, Krassimira R., & Freeman, John L. (2013). Selenium Biotransformations in an Engineered Aquatic Ecosystem for Bioremediation of Agricultural Wastewater via Brine Shrimp Production ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY DOI: 10.1021/es305001n
Sima, S., Ahmadalipour, A., & Tajrishy, M. (2013). Mapping surface temperature in a hyper-saline lake and investigating the effect of temperature distribution on the lake evaporation REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.05.014
Wilkins, Daniel, Gouramanis, Chris, De Deckker, Patrick, Fifield, L. Keith, & Olley, Jon (2013). Holocene lake-level fluctuations in Lakes Keilambete and Gnotuk, southwestern Victoria, Australia HOLOCENE DOI: 10.1177/0959683612471983