The list of shallow—water molluscs: chitons (2 species), gastropods (33 species) and bivalves (36 species) of Isfjorden is presented. Distribution, frequency and domination structure are discussed and zoogeographical analysis is presented.
Although the terrestrial marginal zones of some glaciers on Spitsbergen are relatively well described, we are largely ignorant about the morphology of their submarine forefields. Initial reconnaissance of the forefields of the Aavatsmark and Dahl glaciers in the Kaffiøyra region and soundings made in that of the Hans Glacier (southern Spitsbergen ) indicate the occurrence of sea-floor push-moraines which can be as much as 3 m high. Their lateral separation is considered to denote annual recession rates. They appear to result from cyclical annual advances of ice-cliffs during winters when the deposits are risen up at the contact of the ice with the sea-floor. The development of the major forms may be related to surge. There is some evidence that certain elements in the sea-bed morphology date from the Little Ice Age (LIA).
The organodetritic, sandy limestones of the Treskelodden Formation (Late Gzhelian to Early Artinskian) investigated in outcrops at Treskelen Peninsula, Hyrnefjellet mount and Polakkfjellet mount of south Spitsbergen, contain rich foraminiferal assemblages. Fifty eight foraminiferal species of twenty three genera, including two new species (Hemigordius hyrnefjelleti sp. nov. and Midiella arctica sp. nov.) have been identified. Three foraminiferal zones have been defined, with ages of Late Asselian (Pseudofusulinella occidentalis), Sakmarian (Midiella ovata – Calcitornella heathi) and Early Artinskian (Hemigordius hyrnefjelleti – Midiella arctica). Sedimentary features and the biotic history of the studied succession records a Late Paleozoic cooling trend that stays in accordance with Pangaea’s shift to the north.
Roemeripora tollinoides sp. n. (Anthozoa, Tabulata) is described from Upper Carboniferous strata of SW Nordenskiöld Land (Ingeborgfiellet), Bellsund area in West Spistbergen (Svalbard). The new species is characteristic for a phacelo-cerioid structure of entire corallum.
The list of 29 gastropod species and 33 species of bivalves occurring in Hornsund Fiord as well as their zoogeographic status are presented. The occurrence and role of Mollusca in particular parts of the fiord are discussed.
The purpose of this study is to describe the current state of tidewater glaciers in Svalbard as an extension of the inventory of Hagen et al. (1993). The ice masses of Svalbard cover an area of ca 36 600 km2 and more than 60% of the glaciated areas are glaciers which terminate in the sea at calving ice-cliffs. Recent data on the geometry of glacier tongues, their flow velocities and front position changes have been extracted from ASTER images acquired from 2000-2006 using automated methods of satellite image analysis. Analyses have shown that 163 Svalbard glaciers are of tidewater type (having contact with the ocean) and the total length of their calving ice-cliffs is 860 km . When compared with the previous inventory, 14 glaciers retreated from the ocean to the land over a 30-40 year period. Eleven formerly land-based glaciers now terminate in the sea. A new method of assessing the dynamic state of glaciers, based on patterns of frontal crevassing, has been developed. Tidewater glacier termini are divided into four groups on the basis of differences in crevasse patterns and flow velocity: (1) very slow or stagnant glaciers, (2) slow-flowing glaciers, (3) fast-flowing glaciers, (4) surging glaciers (in the active phase) and fast ice streams. This classification has enabled us to estimate total calving flux from Svalbard glaciers with an accuracy appreciably higher than that of previous attempts. Mass loss due to calving from the whole archipelago (excluding Kvitřya) is estimated to be 5.0-8.4 km3 yr-1 (water equivalent - w.e.), with a mean value 6.75 ± 1.7 km3 yr-1 (w.e.). Thus, ablation due to calving contributes as much as 17-25% (with a mean value 21%) to the overall mass loss from Svalbard glaciers. By implication, the contribution of Svalbard iceberg flux to sea-level rise amounts to ca 0.02 mm yr-1. Also calving flux in the Arctic has been considered and the highest annual specific mass balance attributable to iceberg calving has been found for Svalbard.
The paper presents the first physicochemical and microbiological studies conducted in the northern area of Svalbard (Spitsbergen). Ten sediment samples were collected from the bottom of the longest fjord in the region, Wijdef jorden. Bottom sediments from ten lakes located along the shores of Wijdefjorden and Woodfjorden were also sampled. Organic matter content (LOI), water content, temperature, pH, and salinity of the sediments were determined. The quantity of aerobic bacteria cultured on various growth media at 4 ° C, 14 ° C, and 37 ° C ranged from 10 2 to 10 6 cfu/g of wet sediment mass, depending on the type of sampling station (fjord or lake). The number of bacteria did not co rrelate with organic matter content. Out of the 37 bacterial strains isolated from Wijdefjorden, 48% and 70% revealed ureolytic and proteolytic activity, respectively. The proportion of freshwater strains with ureolytic and proteolytic activity was 32% and 55%, respectively. Antibiotic resistance testing indicated that bacterial strains from the bottom sediments of the lakes were resistant to 8 antibiotics (out of the 18 investigated). Possible sources of this resistance are discussed. Using 16S DNA analysis, bacterial isolates from the lakes were identified as Pseudomonas sp., whereas frequently occurring strains in bottom sediment of the fjord were Pseudoalteromonas sp.
An early Permian (late Artinskian–Roadian) cladid crinoid (Catacrinidae gen. et sp. indet.) is reported for the first time from the V ø ringen Member of the Kapp Starostin Formation of Spitsbergen. The specimen is partly articulated and preserves a considerable part of its stalk and a complete cup, but only the proximal portions of its arms. Thus, it cannot be identified with any degree of certainty at the generic level. Despite this, our finding is important as it constitutes one of the youngest records of catacrinid crinoids to date and considerably extends the palaeogeographic distribution of this group.
Measurements of pollutants scavenged from air masses over southern Svalbard in summer precipitation are presented. Rainfall was sampled in July and August 2002 at Calypsobyen, Bellsund. Specific conductivity (SpC) and pH were measured and ion concentrations were determined by ion chromatography. Ions of marine origin were subtracted, assuming that all chlorides were of marine origin. The FLEXTRA trajectory model was applied to discover the sources of air masses arriving at Svalbard and track the paths of pollutant transport. Average (v/w) rainfall pH was 4.94, mean SpC amounted to 34.8 µS cm-1. Total dissolved solids concentration (TDS) ranged from 12.6 to 67 mg L-1, with ions of marine origin (Cl-, Na+, Mg2+) prevailing. Rains with the highest percentage of marine salts occurred with winds from the East at above average velocities. Non-sea salt (nss) sulphate concentrations ranged from 0.5 µeq L-1 to 23 µeq L-1, (v/w) average was 17 µeq L-1. Nitrate concentrations ranged from 0 to 24 µeq L-1. The highest concentrations of nss-SO42- and NO3- were measured on 25 August, when the highest rainfall occurred (27 mm) and pH was the lowest (4.65). Rainfall at Calypsobyen deposited 194 kg km-2 of acidifying anions and 263 kg km-2 of base cations over the recording period. The polluted air masses were mostly from northern and central Europe. Rainfalls scavenging air masses formed over Greenland and Norwegian Seas displayed similar concentrations, being probably polluted by SOx and NOx from ship emissions.
Soils, having a well-developed sequence of A and Bw horizons, are widespread on the uplifted marine terrace 8- 12 m a.s.l. in the proximity of Nottinghambukta Bay . The present-day origin of these soils is however questionable, while similarly developed soils, but buried under the cover of the youngest till were found on a forefield of the Werenskiold Glacier. To quantify an intensity of the soil-forming process under present climate conditions of SW Spitsbergen , the chronosequence of soils developed from the Recent, up to 70 year-old moraines, was studied on the forefield of Werenskiold Glacier. Significant dissolution of CaCO3, decrease of pH, leaching of calcium and magnesium, increase of amorphous iron content, as well as an accumulation of organic matter and initial formation of aggregate soil structure were observed within the surface layer of recent till. The 70 year-long period of pedogenesis was, however, too short for a distinct morphological differentiation of the subsurface B horizon. It is concluded, that deep and structural Bw horizons of some surface and buried soils are relicts of a much longer period of relatively warm climate before the last transgression of glaciers.
The organic carbon (OC)-rich, black shale succession of the Middle Triassic Bravaisberget Formation in Spitsbergen contains scattered dolomite-ankerite cement in coarser-grained beds and intervals. This cement shows growth-related compositional trend from non-ferroan dolomite (0–5 mol % FeCO3) through ferroan dolomite (5–10 mol % FeCO3) to ankerite (10–20 mol % FeCO3, up to 1.7 mol % MnCO3) that is manifested by zoned nature of composite carbonate crystals. The d13C (-7.3‰ to -1.8‰ VPDB) and d18O (-9.4‰ to -6.0‰ VPDB) values are typical for burial cements originated from mixed inorganic and organic carbonate sources. The dolomite-ankerite cement formed over a range of diagenetic and burial environments, from early post-sulphidic to early catagenic. It reflects evolution of intraformational, compaction-derived marine fluids that was affected by dissolution of biogenic carbonate, clay mineral and iron oxide transformations, and thermal decomposition of organic carbon (decarboxylation of organic acids, kerogen breakdown). These processes operated during Late Triassic and post-Triassic burial history over a temperature range from approx. 40°C to more than 100°C, and contributed to the final stage of cementation of the primary pore space of siltstone and sandstone beds and intervals in the OC-rich succession.
Genetic variability of two populations of Arctic freshwater crustacean Lepidurus arcticus (Crustacea, Notostraca) occuring in small tundra reservoirs near the Polish Polar Sta− tion in Hornsund (Spitsbergen) was studied. The allozyme polimorphism analysis of 11 en− zyme systems indicates a considerable distinctness and genetically heterogeneous character of the populations of L. arcticus inhabiting freshwater reservoirs of similar hydrological con− ditions situated close to each other (2 km). Our research revealed a complicated and geneti− cally heterogeneous character of the populations. Three hypotheses about genetic structure and type of reproduction were tested: hypothesis M – the free transfer without assigning a clone for particular reservoir and the lack of doublemutations; hypothesis I – separation of in− dividuals between reservoirs and the possibility of doublemutations; hypothesis S – presence of partial sexual reproduction in the population, probably with males. In conclusion participa− tion ofmales in reproduction is probable, despite their presence was not recorded in our study. Males usually occur in low numbers or not every year. The populations' clonal structure as well as the genetic diversity typical of species reproducing sexually was observed. The Hardy−Weinberg genetic equilibrium is maintained as new clonal lines appear due to the ge− netic diversity increasing incidentally as a result of sexual reproduction.
51 samples from the Middle Triassic black shales (organic carbon−rich silt− stones; up to 4.9% TOC – Total Organic Carbon) from the stratotype section of the Bravaisberget Formation (western Spitsbergen) were analyzed with respect to isotopic composition of pyritic sulphur (34S) and TOC. Isotopic composition of syngenetic py− rite−bound sulphur shows wide (34S from −26‰ to +8‰ VCDT) and narrow (34S from −4‰ to +17‰ VCDT) variation of the 34S in upper and lower part of the section, respec− tively. Range of the variation is associated with abrupt changes in dominant lithology. Wide 34S variation is found in lithological intervals characterized by alternation of black shales and phosphorite−bearing sandstones. The narrow 34S variation is associated with the lithological interval dominated by black shales only. Wide and narrow variation of the #2;34S values suggests interplay of various factors in sedimentary environment. These fac− tors include oxygen concentration, clastic sedimentation rate, bottom currents and bur− rowing activity. Biological productivity and rate of dissimilatory sulphate reduction had important impact on the 34S variation as well. Wide variation of the 34S values in the studied section resulted from high biological productivity and high rate of dissimilatory sulphate reduction. Variable degree of clastic sedimentation rate and burrowing activity as well as the activity of poorly oxygenated bottom currents could also cause a co−occurrence of isotopically light and heavy pyrite in differentiated diagenetic micro−environments. Occurrence of organic matter depleted in hydrogen could also result in a wide variation of the 34S values. Narrow variation of the #2;34S values was due to a decrease of biological productivity and low rate of dissimilatory sulphate reduction. Low organic matter supply, low oxygen concentration and bottom currents and burrowing activity were also responsible for narrow variation of the 34S. The narrow range of the 34S variation was also due to occurrence of hydrogen−rich organic matter. In the studied section the major change in range of the 34S variation from wide to narrow appears to be abrupt and clearly associated with change in lithology. The change of lithology and isotopic valuesmay sug− gest evolution of the sedimentary environment from high− to low−energy and also facies succession from shallow to deeper shelf. The evolution should be linked with the Late Anisian regional transgressive pulse in the Boreal Ocean.
We assessed culturable soil microfungal diversity in various habitats around Hornsund, Spitsbergen in the High Arctic, using potato dextrose agar ( PDA) medium. Thermal growth classification of the fungi obtained was determined by incubating them in 4 ° Cand 25 ° C, permitting separation of those with psychrophilic, psychrotolerant and mesophilic characteristics. In total, 68 fungal isolates were obtained from 12 soil samples, and grouped into 38 mycelial morphotypes. Intergenic spacer regions of these morphotypes were sequenced, and they represented 25 distinct taxonomic units, of which 21 showed sufficient similarity with available sequence data in NCBI to be identified to species level. Soil under ornithogenic influence showed the highest species diversity, including sequences assigned to Mortierella macrocystis, M. elongata, Mortierella sp., Cudoniella sp., Varicosporium elodeae , Beauveria bassiana , Geomyces pannorum , Penicillium sp. and Atradidymella muscivora . Fourteen taxa were classified as psychrophilic, seven mesophilic, and four psychrotolerant.
The diversity of cyanobacterial assemblages from various microhabitats in the Arctic area of Petuniabukta, Billefjorden, central Svalbard, was described. The present article contains the introductory common review of the cyanobacterial diversity and ecological data concerning main habitats, while the characteristics of individual taxonomic groups will be presented in following specific studies. Eight distinct main habitats were recognized, which differed in their species composition and especially the dominant species. More than 80 morphospecies were registered during our investigation, but only about 1/3 of them could be assigned to known and described taxa. The others require additional analyses based on modern taxonomic methods (the polyphasic approach ). The composition of cyanobacterial micro flora was comparable with assemblages in coastal Antarctica. The diversity of unicellular and colonial morphotypes (36 taxa) was higher tha n other groups. The number of filamentous species without heterocytes and akinetes, with 30 species, and heterocytous types, with only 20 species, were similar in both of these ecosystems. These numbers will be surely changed in the future, but the overall proportion of different groups will likely stay the same. In contrast to the limited species diversity, simple filamentous aheterocytous species were dominant and formed massive populations. Fewheterocy tous taxa, mostly grouped within the genus Nostoc ( N. commune –complex), were dominant in tundra soils.
This paper presents distribution and properties of soils within the Fuglebekken catchment in neighbourhood of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago). The present study describes 8 representative soil profiles out of 34 profiles studied for the whole catchment. Soils of the Fuglebekken catchment show initial stage of their formation because of very slow rate of chemical and biological weathering in Arctic climate conditions . Uplifted marine terraces of the Fuglebekken catchment are characterized by domination of Haplic Cryosols which ar e related to stony and gravelly parent material (reworked marine sediments). Such soils constitute of 17% of the studied area. Turbic Cryosols forming characteristic micro−relief occur on flat surfaces and gentle slopes. Such soils (covering 7% of the catchment) are formed from loamy parent material. Along streams Hyperskeletic Cryosols (Reduc taquic) and Turbic Histic Cryosols occur. The last two soil units (constituting 11% of the catchment) are mantled by continuous and dense vegetation cover (especially mosses) due to high content of water rich in nutrients flowing from colonies of sea birds located on slopes of Ariekammen and Fugleberget. The studied soils are generally characterized by shallow occurrence of permafrost ( i.e. at 30–50 cm), high content of pebbles, sandy or sandy loam texture, and neutral or s lightly alkaline reaction. Soils occurring along streams and near colonies of sea birds show higher content of nutrients (N and P) in comparison with other soils and are covered by more dense vegetation. This indicates important impact of bird guano on chemical composition of soil solution and fertility of such soils.
Hansbreen, a medium size tidewater glacier in Southern Spitsbergen (Svalbard) is one of the most intensively studied glaciers in the Arctic. This work presents new digital elevation models of its surface and basal topography based on data collected during GPS/GPR campaigns conducted in the spring seasons of 2005 and 2008, as well as on other recent topographic/bathymetric sources. The mean thickness of the glacier is calculated as 171 m and its volume is estimated to be 9.6 (±0.1) km 3 . The main feature of the bedrock morphology is a vast depression that is overdeepened below sea level and extends as far as 11 km upstream from the glacier front. This depression is divided into four individual basins by distinct sills that are related to the main geological/tectonic features of the area. The bedrock morphology affects considerably the glacier’s surface topography. The influence of bedrock and surface relief on the subglacial drainage system geometry is discussed. Vast depressions on the glacier surface favor concentration of meltwater and development of moulin systems.
The archipelago of Svalbard in the European High Arctic lies on the convergence of the Palaearctic and Nearctic flora and fauna and contains elements of both regions. The island of Hopen is located in the south east of the archipelago within the path of the cold south−westerly flowing East Svalbard Current originating in the Arctic ocean and flowing along the north Russian coast. This current is postulated as a colonization route of the invertebrate fauna of Svalbard. Few reports of the terrestrial invertebrates of Hopen exist and none of the mite suborders Oribatida or Mesostigmata. With the taxonomic confusion existing in the inventories of this important region of the Arctic, new sampling campaigns with species identified by modern taxonomic principles and with material deposited in accessible museums and collections are essential. Identified mites included six species of oribatid mites with Diapterobates notatus dominating, and five species of Mesostigmata with Zercon forsslundi forming the dominant species. None of the species collected was a new record for Svalbard and all have wide circumpolar, Palaearctic or Holarctic distributions. Dispersal to Svalbard from northern Russia is hence neither supported nor rejected. The expected oribatid and mesostigmatid diversity of the island is greater than observed from the limited sampling described here.
The ability to grow clonally is generally considered important for plants in Arctic regions but analyses of clonal characteristics are lacking for entire plant communities. To fill this gap, we assessed the clonal growth of 78 plant species in the Petuniabukta region, central Spitsbergen (Svalbard), and analyzed the clonal and other life−history traits in the regional flora and plant communities with respect to environmental gradients. We distinguished five categories of clonal growth organs: perennial main roots produced by non− clonal plants, epigeogenous rhizomes, hypogeogenous rhizomes, bulbils, and stolons. Clonal growth differed among communities of the Petuniabukta region: non−clonal plants prevailed in open, early−successional communities, but clonal plants prevailed in wetlands. While the occurrence of plants with epigeogenous rhizomes was unrelated to stoniness or slope, the occurrence of plants with hypogeogenous rhizomes diminished with increasing stoniness of the substratum. Although the overall proportion of clonal plants in the flora of the Petuniabukta region was comparable to that of central Europe, the flora of the Petuniabukta region had fewer types of clonal growth organs, a slower rate of lateral spread, and a different proportion of the two types of rhizomes.
This paper presents the first results of measurements of global solar radiation, albedo, ground surface and 2−m air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction carried out in the central part of Spitsbergen Island in the period 2008–2010. The study site was located on the coastal ice−free zone of Petuniabukta (north−western branch of Billefjorden), which was strongly affected by local topography, character of the ground surface, and sea ice extent. Temporal analysis of the selected meteorological parameters shows both strong seasonal and inter−diurnal variation affected by synoptic−scale weather systems, channelling and drainage effects of the fjords and surrounding glaciers. The prevailing pattern of atmospheric circulation primarily determined the variation in global solar radiation, wind speed, ground surface and 2−m air temperatures. Furthermore, it was found that thermal differences between Petuniabukta and the nearest meteorological station (Svalbard Lufthavn) differ significantly due to differences in sea ice concentrations and ice types in the fjords during the winter and spring months.
A significant limit to current understanding of cold coast evolution is the paucity of field observations regarding development of rocky coastlines and, in particular, lack of precise recognition of mechanisms controlling rock coast geomorphology in polar climates. Results are presented from a pilot survey of rock resistance using Schmidt Hammer Rock Tests (SHRT) across the recently deglacierized Nordenskioldbreen forefield and coastal zone, in central Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The aim is to improve understanding of the effects of rock weathering on high latitude coasts. SHRT across a field of roches moutonnées of metamorphic rocks, uncovered from ice over the last century and exposed to the operation of littoral processes, demonstrated significant relationships between rock surface resistance and distance from present shoreline, distance from the ice cliff as well as thickness of the snow cover. Sites closest to the present−day shoreline were characterized by lower resistance in comparison with more inland locations. The result support models that advocate intensification of weathering processes in cold region coastal settings.
The aim of this study was to provide an estimation of climate variability in the Hornsund area in Southern Spitsbergen in the period 1976-2100. The climatic variables were obtained from the Polar-CORDEX initiative in the form of time series of daily air temperature and precipitation derived from four global circulation models (GCMs) following representative concentration pathways (RCP) RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios. In the first stage of the analysis, simulations for the reference period from 1979 to 2005 were compared with observations at the Polish Polar Station Hornsund from the same period of time. In the second step, climatic projections were derived and monthly and annual means/sums were analysed as climatic indices. Following the standard methods of trend analysis, the changes of these indices over three time periods - the reference period 1976-2005, the near-future period 2021-2050, and far-future period 2071-2100 - were examined. The projections of air temperature were consistent. All analysed climate models simulated an increase of air temperature with time. Analyses of changes at a monthly scale indicated that the largest increases were estimated for winter months (more than 11°C for the far future using the RCP 8.5 scenario). The analyses of monthly and annual sums of precipitation also indicated increasing tendencies for changes with time, with the differences between mean monthly sums of precipitation for the near future and the reference period similar for each months. In the case of changes between far future and reference periods, the highest increases were projected for the winter months.
Hørbyebreen surged in the 19th or early 20th century, as suggested by geomorphological evidences and looped medial moraines. In this study, we investigate its wide−spread geometry changes and geodetic mass balance with 1960 contour lines, 1990 and 2009 digital elevation models, in order to define the present−day state of the glacier. We also study its thermal structure from ground−penetrating radar data. Little is known about the glacier behaviour in the first part of the 20th century, but from its surge maximum until 1960 it has been retreating and losing its area. In the period 1960–1990, fast frontal thinning (2–3 m a −1 ) and a slow mass build−up in the higher zones (~0.15 m a −1 ) have been noted, resulting in generally negative mass balance (−0.40 ± 0.07 m w. eq. a −1 ). In the last studied period 1990–2009, the glacier showed an acceleration of mass loss (−0.64 m ± 0.07 w. eq. a −1 ) and no build−up was observed anymore. We conclude that Hørbyebreen system under present climate will not surge anymore and relate this behaviour to a considerable increase in summer temperature on Svalbard after 1990. Radar soundings indicate that the studied glacial system is polythermal, with temperate ice below 100–130 m depth. It has therefore not (or not yet) switched to cold−bedded, as has been suggested in previous works for some small Svalbard surge−type glaciers in a negative mass balance mode.
The Ebbabreen ice−cored moraine area is covered with a sediment layer of up to 2.5 m thick, which mostly consists of massive diamicton. Due to undercutting by lateral streams, debris flow processes have been induced in marginal parts of this moraine. It was recognized that the sedimentology of deposits within the deposition area of debris flows is the effect of: (1) the origin of the sediments, (2) the nature of the debris flow, and (3) post−debris flow reworking. Analysis of debris flow deposits in microscale (thin sections) suggests a common mixing during flow, even though a small amount of parent material kept its original structure. The mixing of sediments during flow leads to them having similar sedimentary characteristics across the deposition area regardless of local conditions ( i.e. slope angle, water content, parent material lithology). After the deposition of sediments that were transported by the debris flow, they were then reworked by a further redeposition process, primarily related to meltwater stream action.
This article describes the morphological characteristics of the populations of green alga, Tetraspora gelatinosa , growing in the stressful Arctic conditions (77 ° 00’22” N, 015 ° 32’54.33” E). We present the first detailed morphological characteristics of this species from such a high latitude. Populations from both stagnant and flowing waters were studied. Depending on the type of habitat, their mucilaginous colonies (thalli) have different shapes, but the structure, size and the placement of the vegetative cells, akinetes and ameboid forms, as well as the pseudocilia morphology of both populations, were very similar. Literature data on the distribution of T. gelatinosa indicate that it is a cosmopolitan species. Our data are compared with some characteristic features of this species growing in different geographical and climatic zones. No significant differences were found in the morphology of the colonies compared, nor in the location and the inner structure of cells. How − ever, there were slight differences in cell size between the populations from warm and cold zones.