Although chaetognaths inhabiting polar ecosystems are relatively well known, there are few reports on their functioning in the Antarctic coastal plankton community. The presented results provide the first comprehensive description of population structure of chaetognaths in the neritic zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The studies were performed on samples collected in Admiralty Bay, from December 1994 to June 1995. Following six chaetognath species were determined: Eukrohnia hamata, E. bathypelagica, E. fowleri, Pseudosagitta gazellae, P. maxima and Solidosagitta marri. The representatives of Eukrohnia were observed almost throughout the research period, whereas those of Pseudosagitta and Solidosagitta were found only during first four months of our investigation. Eukrohnia hamata showed a strong dominance in respect to abundance (max. 445 ind./1000 m3). The mean abundance of all taxa significantly fluctuated in the study period and across weeks. Generally, all species were represented by the first three maturity stages (I-III), individuals stage IV occurred sporadically, and mature specimens (stage V) were not recorded at all. Morphometric analysis of the most abundant species showed distinct differences in their total length and body proportions. Our findings may suggest that chaetognath populations in Admiralty Bay are migrant, dependent on the inflow of water from the Bransfield Strait, but to prove this statement further, round year study is necessary.
Changes in body mass and body reserves of Little Auks (Alle alle) were studied throughout the breeding season. Body mass loss after chick hatching was analyzed with respect to two hypotheses: (1) mass loss reflects the stress of reproduction, (2) mass loss is adaptive by reducing power consumption during flight. Body mass of both males and females increased during incubation, dropped abruptly after hatching, and remained stable until the end of the chick-rearing period. These changes were largely due to change in mass of fat reserves. Body mass, fat, and protein reserves, when corrected for body size, did not differ between sexes at the end of incubation. Female size-corrected body mass at that time was correlated with peak body mass of chicks. The estimated energy savings for flight due to the decline in adult body mass after chick hatching were small compared with the total energy expenditure of adults feedings chicks, which did not support hypothesis (2). The contribution to chick feeding was not equal; the ratio of females to males caught with food for chicks was 1.8. Size-corrected body mass during chick-rearing was lower in females, proportional to their higher chick feeding effort compared with males. Females, in contrast to males, lost protein reserves during chick-rearing. Digestive tract mass of adults increased by half throughout the breeding period. These findings supported elements of hypothesis (1). Despite high energy expenditure rates, both sexes had about 10 g of fat reserves at the end of chick feeding. Body mass of both sexes was constant during the greater part of the chick-feeding period. It was suggested therefore that mass loss is regulated with respect to lower fat reserves required during chick-rearing.