Geomorphological research based on geomorphological mapping seeks to identify the origins and age of forms as well as to describe the process that created or transformed a particular form. One of the most important aspects of this study is the morphometry and morphology of the landscape. This also applies to the submarine areas, and issues related to marine geomorphometry. Bathymetric data used in this study were obtained from the measurements of the Norwegian Hydrographic Service and measurements conducted by the authors. Its main goal was: to determine the bathymetry of the Recherchefjorden (Bellsund, Svalbard), establish morphometric parameters for the analysis of the morphology of the bottom. The boundaries of zones, related to the specific character of bottom geomorphology linked with geological structure, tectonics and, in particular, the impact of glacial system, was delineated. The sets of landforms (areas) were distinguished based on the morphometric analysis resulting from the determined parameters: slopes, its aspects, curvatures and Bathymetric Position Index. Basically, this areas are concentrated in two zones: the main Recherchefjorden and its surroundings. The delimitation also takes into account the origins and location of theme in relation to the glacial systems. On this basis, moraine areas were distinguished. They are linked with the Holocene advances of two glaciers, Renardbeen and Recherchebreen, mainly during the Little Ice Age. They constitute boundary zones between areas with different morphometric parameters: outer fjord and inner fjord. Moreover, taking into account geology and terrestrial geomorphology it was possible to describe paraglacial processes in this area.
There are hardly any data concerning the vertical micro−distribution of protozoa in water column in cryoconite holes on the glacier surface. Such comparisons can provide insights into the ecology of protozoa. The present research was made on Ecology Glacier (South Shetland Islands, Antarctic); vertical microzonation of c iliates in relation to physical and chemical parameters in cryoconite holes was studied. The density and biomass of protozoans significantly differed between the studied stations (cryoconite holes), with the lowest numbers in the surface water and the highest in the bottom water. The surface waters were dominated by mixotrophic and omnivorous taxa, whe reas the deepest sampling level has shown the increase of the proportion of bacterivore species . Ordination analysis indicated that TN and P−PO 4 can strongly regulate the abundance and species composition of protozoa. The redundancy analyses (RDA) showed that the ciliate communities can be separated into two groups. The first group included species associated with surface water: Halteria grandinella and Codonella sp. The second group included species that are associated with bottom water: Prorodon sp. , Holosticha pullaster , Stylonychia mytilus −complex and small scuticociliates.
The calcareous microfossil assemblage from Middle Miocene strata of SHALDRIL Site NBP0602A−5D consists of bent hic foraminifera, ostracods, bivalves, and gastropods, and is interpreted as shallow−water. It appears to be reworked but its age is probably similar to the age of the host sediment, which contains only rare, fragmented, agglutinated foraminifera. Most of the calcareous taxa are of uncertain taxonomic affiliation, due to the scarcity of Cenozoic microfossils of this age from West Antarctica, and also the very different paleohabitat of this now extinct assemblage.
Four new Antarctic holothuroid species are described for specimens from Admiralty Bay in King George Island. A new genus Dendrelasia O’Loughlin is erected for new cucumariid species Dendrelasia sicinski with dendrochirotid body form and elasipodid type spinous rod ossicles. Cucumariid Staurocucumis krzysztofi has bowl ossicles predominantly with marginal teeth. Provisionally−assigned thyonid Allothyone presleri has table ossicles with spires comprising predominantly four pillars. Molpadiid Molpadia magdae has a prickly cover of irregular table ossicle spires and fusiform table discs in both body wall and tail. Staurocucumis liouvillei (Vaney) is a “species complex”.
Usnea aurantiaco-atra is the dominant flora around King George Island, Antarctica, whose specimens exhibited various phenotypes, even for those with the same ITS sequences in both mycobiont and photobiont. A comprehensive analysis of morphological traits of U. aurantiaco-atra including the reproductive structures, growth forms and ornamentation, cross section of the branches, and the substratum was carried out. Four arbitrary groups were identified based on their reproductive characters, but these groups cannot be distinguished from molecular phylogenetic trees based on fungal or algal ITS sequences. Further, the complicated morphological diversity of the thalli with the same ITS haplotypes in both mycobiont and photobiont suggest that some other factors in addition to the symbionts could influence the morphology of lichens. This implies that lichen is indeed a complex-mini-ecosystem rather than a dual symbiotic association of fungus and alga. Also, a lichenous fungi Phacopsis sp. was identified based on its anatomical characters and ITS sequence, which was also responsible for the black burls-like structures on U. aurantiaco-atra.
Poa annua L. is the only non−native vascular plant that was successfully established in the maritime Antarctic. This project aimed to determine the amount of genetic and epigenetic variation within and between two populations of P. annua , one from South Shetland Is. (Antarctic) and the other one from Central Europe. We applied two AFLP marker systems, using endonucleases that recognised the same restriction site but differed in their sensitivity towards methylation. The Antarctic population differed from the Polish one both at the genetic and epigenetic levels. Genetic variability in the Antarctic population was lower than in the Polish one. Some loci in the Antarctic population showed signs of selection. The difference between Polish and Antarctic populations might be due to a weak bottleneck effect followed by population expansion. Using only epigenetic markers, the Ant − arctic population exhibited increased variation level compared to the Polish one. These may have resulted from plastic responses to environmental factors and could be associated with survival in extreme conditions.
The well−known Jurassic macrofloras from Hope Bay at the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula continue to yield new taxa . This paper reports on a new type of plant re− productive organ. The affinity of this organ r emains unclear; it may be affiliated with the Schizaceae or Osmundaceae, but similarities to po llen organs of the Podocarpaceae are also discussed. Because the fossils differ from hitherto known Mesozoic fertile fronds and conifer pollen organs in some details, the new taxon, Spesia antarctica nov. gen. et sp. is proposed.
Candona rectangulata is an ostracod species common in cold (<15 ° C ) shallow freshwater Arctic water bodies. This species is useful in palaeolimnological studies because only few known autecological data can be applied in reconstructions of palaeoclimate. Particular attention was paid to the temperature, which is the basic factor determining the geo− graphic range of a species. In this study a wide tolerance of C. rectangulata to the temperature was demonstrated for the first time. Its high tolerance to the temperature changes seems to be based on induction of set of proteins belonging to the family of heat shock proteins. Using PAGE−SDS electrophoresis variation in the protein profile of non−model organism undergoing stress in the field (South Spitsbergen, near Stanisław Siedlecki Polish Polar Station) and in laboratory cultures was presented. These results could explain the eurythermic range of C. rectangulata and its good adaptation to the environmental conditions which normally do not exist in Arctic freshwater ponds.
This paper offers a comparison of Muriella decolor specimens from different geographical regions and habitats (limestone caves in Poland and ice denuded areas near the Ecology Glacier, King George Island, South Shetland Islands, West Antarctic). Morphological and cytological variability, ecology and life strategies of M. decolor were studied in fresh samples, and also in cultures grown on agar plates. The complete life cycle, with de − tailed ultrastructural (LM and TEM) analysis are presented. The electron microscopic observations prove that materials identified as M. decolor collected in Poland and the Antarctic have distinct ultrastructural features. These include the chloroplast lamella arrangement, mitochondrial cristae structure and the cell wall thickness.
The embryology of three polar flowering plants of the family Caryophyllaceae was studied using the methods and techniques of the light, normal and fluorescence microscopes, and the electron microscopes, scanning and transmission. The analyzed species were Colobanthus quitensis of West Antarctic (King George Island, South Shetlands Islands) as well as Cerastium alpinum and Silene involucrata of the Arctic (Spitsbergen, Svalbard). In all evaluated species, flowering responses were adapted to the short Arctic and Australian summer, and adaptations to autogamy and anemogamy were also observed. The microsporangia of the analyzed plants produced small numbers of microspore mother cells that were differentiated into a dozen or dozens of trinucleate pollen grains. The majority of mature pollen grains remained inside microsporangia and germinated in the thecae. The monosporous Polygonum type (the most common type in angiosperms) of embryo sac development was observed in the studied species. The egg apparatus had an egg cell and two synergids with typical polarization. A well-developed filiform apparatus was differentiated in the micropylar end of the synergids. In mature diaspores of the analyzed plants of the family Caryophyllaceae, a large and peripherally located embryo was, in most part, adjacent to perisperm cells filled with reserve substances, whereas the radicle was surrounded by micropylar endosperm composed of a single layer of cells with thick, intensely stained cytoplasm, organelles and reserve substances. The testae of the analyzed plants were characterized by species-specific primary and secondary sculpture, and they contained large amounts of osmophilic material with varied density. Seeds of C. quitensis, C. alpinum and S. involucrata are very small, light and compact shaped.
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.
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.
The Polish Geophysical Expedition to West Antarctica in 1979-1980 was carried out by the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Beside deep seismic soundings, 12 multi-channel seismic profiles, with a total length of ca 1000 km have been recorded north and east of the South Shetland Islands and in the Bransfield Strait, but they have never before been completely interpreted and published. All profiles have been processed with modern processing flow including time migration. Profiles crossing the South Shetland Trench revealed distinct reflector inside continental slope, which has been interpreted as border between buried accretionary prism and overlying slope sediments of glacial-marine origin. Profiles in the Bransfield Strait show traces of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the form of glacial foreground valleys, with some of them used as weak spots for young age volcanic intrusions. This paper is the first comprehensive geological interpretation of collected dataset and differences between results from other expeditions are discussed.
We studied dynamic changes in anthropogenic bacterial communities at a summer−operated Czech research base (the Mendel Research Station) in the Antarctic during 2012 and 2013. We observed an increase in total numbers of detected bacteria between the beginning and the end of each stay in the Antarctic. In the first series of samples, bacteria of Bacillus sp. predominated. Surprisingly, high numbers of Gram−positive cocci and coli − forms were found (including opportunistic human pathogens), although the conditions for bacterial life were unfavourable (Antarctic winter). In the second series of samples, coliforms and Gram−positive cocci predominated. Dangerous human pathogens were also detected. Yersinia enterocolitica was identified as serotype O:9. Antibiotic susceptibility testing showed medium−to−high resistance rates to ampicillin, cefalotin, cefuroxime, amoxicillin−clavulanate and gentamicin in Enterobacteriaceae. 16S rRNA sequencing showed high rates of accordance between nucleotide sequences among the tested strains. Three conclusions were drawn: (1) Number of anthropogenic bacteria were able to survive the harsh conditions of the Antarctic winter (inside and outside the polar station). Under certain circumstances ( e.g. impaired immunity), the surviving bacteria might pose a health risk to the participants of future expeditions or to other visitors to the base. (2) The bacteria released into the outer environment might have impacts on local ecosystems. (3) New characteristics ( e.g. resistance to antibiotics) may be introduced into local bacterial communities.
Physical and chemical properties of Arctic soils and especially the properties of surface horizons of the soils are very important because they are responsible for the rate and character of plant colonization, development of vegetation cover, and influence the rate and depth of thawing of soils and development of active layer of permafrost during summer. The main aim of the present study is to determine and explain the spatial diversity of selected physical and chemical properties of surface horizons of Arctic soils from the non-glaciated Fuglebekken catchment located in the Hornsund area (SW Spitsbergen) by means of geostatistical approach. Results indicate that soil surface horizons in the Fuglebekken catchment are characterized by highly variable physical and chemical properties due to a heterogeneous parent material (marine sediments, moraine, rock debris), tundra vegetation types, and non-uniform influence of seabirds. Soils experiencing the strongest influence of seabird guano have a lower pH than other soils. Soils developed on the lateral moraine of the Hansbreen glacier have the highest pH due to the presence of carbonates in the parent material and a lack or presence of a poorly developed and discontinuous A horizon. The soil surface horizons along the coast of the Hornsund exhibit the highest content of the sand fraction and SiO2. The surface of soils occurring at the foot of the slope of Ariekammen Ridge is characterized by the highest content of silt and clay fractions as well as Al2O3, Fe2O3, and K2O. Soils in the central part of the Fuglebekken catchment are depleted in CaO, MgO, and Na2O in comparison with soils in the other sampling sites, which indicates the highest rate of leaching in this part of the catchment.
Glacially abraded basaltic rock surfaces found within a Little Ice Age (LIA) foreland of Skálafellsjökull (SE Iceland) were studied at eight sites of different age applying different weathering indices. They include surface micro−roughness parameters measured with the Handysurf E35−B electronic profilometer – a new tool in geomorphology, Schmidt hammer rebound (R−values) and weathering rind thickness. Values of these indices obtained from study sites exposed to subaerial weathering for more than ca. 80 years are significantly different than those from younger moraines closer to the glacier snout. Despite a wide scatter of readings within each study site, there is a significant correlation between the ages and the values of the indices. It is concluded that the micro−roughness parameters provided by the Handysurf E35−B profilometer, Schmidt hammer R−values and weathering rind thickness are robust indices of rock surface deterioration rate in short time−scales. There is mounting evidence that rock surface undergoes relatively rapid weathering during first decades since deglaciation.
The aim of the study is to describe aspects of the life history of the Atlantic poacher (Leptagonus decagonus) obtained during early October 2010 and late September 2011 from the Hinlopen Strait, located between Nordaustlandet and the Spitsbergen Archipelago. Length was measured for 142 individuals, and 82 out of these were weighed, sexed and the age in years determined. The sex distribution in the population was 45% females and 55% males. Gut content examination revealed the domination of the mesopelagic and hyper−benthic calanoid Bradyidius similis that was recorded in 87% of the stomachs analysed. Overall there was a significant difference in size (length and weight) between the sexes, and a difference in length and weight at age between the sexes. There was no difference in age distribution between the sexes, but there was a larger age range within the male population than in the female population. The sexual dimorphism in size is likely linked to different reproductive strategies. This study represents the first data on the life history of the Atlantic poacher in Svalbard waters.
Antarctic pearlwort ( Colobanthus quitensis ) is one of the flowering plant species considered native to maritime Antarctica. Although the species was intensively analyzed towards its morphological, anatomical and physiological adaptation to local environment, its genetic variability is still poorly studied. In the presented study, a recently developed retrotransposon−based DNA marker system (inter Primer Binding Site – iPBS) was applied to assess the genetic diversity and differentiation of C. quitensis populations from King George Island (South Shetland Islands, West Antarctic). A total of 143 scoreable bands were detected using 7 iPBS primers among 122 plant specimens representing 8 populations. 55 (38.5%) bands were found polymorphic, with an average of 14.3% polymorphic fragments per primer. Nine of all observed fragments were represented as a private bands deployed unevenly among populations. Low genetic diversity (on average H e = 0.040 and I = 0.061) and moderate population differentiation (F ST = 0.164) characterize the analyzed material. Clustering based on PCoA revealed, that the populations located on the edges of the study area diverge from the central populations. The pattern of population differentiation corresponds well with their geographic location and the characteristics of the sampling sites. Due to the character of iPBS markers, the observed genetic variability of populations may be explained by the genome rearrangements caused by mobilization of mobile genetic elements in the response to various stress factors. Additionally, this study demonstrates the usefulness of iPBS markers for genetic diversity studies in wild species.
The fossil record of Antarctic Sphenisciformes dates as early as the late Palaeocene Cross Valley Formation, Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula. However, the best known Antarctic locality for early penguin remains (mainly isolated bones) is the Eocene La Meseta Formation that outcrops in the northeast of Seymour Island. The analysis of an unstudied set of specimens collected there by members of the British Antarctic Survey in 1989 has resulted in identification of a distal humerus from the unit Telm3 (early Eocene) of the formation that is the oldest known bone attributable to a medium−sized (in the context of the entire Cainozoic era) penguin. This find suggests that the origin of these birds, in con− junction with an increase in taxonomic diversity of the Eocene Sphenisciformes, was related to the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO) or, more probably, the early phase of subsequent cooling.
This study presents the results of dendrochronological and dendroclimatological research of Betula pubescens from four sites in northern Norway (Kvaløya Island, Tromsøya Island and Storelva Valley), which provided a 193-year chronology. Our results highlight the importance of the site selection in dendroclimatological studies. We demonstrated that activity of geomorphic processes connected with local topography could led to reduced strength of climatic signal embedded in tree-ring data. Negative pointer years, triggered mainly by unfavourable climatic conditions and insect outbreaks, were common for all site chronologies in 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975, 1986, 2004. However, some site-specific differences were also distinguished. Response function analysis confirmed that June, July and August temperatures were positively correlated with tree-ring widths. This climate-growth relationship was stable throughout the years 1925-2000. From summer temperature reconstruction back to AD 1820, two colder (c. 1835-1850 and 1890-1920) and two warmer (c. 1825-1835 and 1920-1940) periods were identified. The tree-ring record from the Tromsø Region, well correlated between series, sites and climate variables, is an important element of a large-scale reconstruction of pre-instrumental climate variation in the northeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Our dendroclimatic reconstruction corresponds well with other climate proxy data, like fluctuations of mountain glaciers in Scandinavia or sea ice extent.
Hornsund and Kongsfjorden are two similar-sized Arctic fjords on the West coast of Spitsbergen. They are influenced by cold coastal Arctic water (Hornsund) and warmer Atlantic water (Kongsfjorden). Environmental conditions affect the timing, quantity, spatial distribution (horizontal and vertical) of spring and summer blooms of protists as well as the taxonomic composition of those assemblages. Here, we compile published data and unpublished own measurement from the past two decades to compare the environmental factors and primary production in two fjord systems. Kongsfjorden is characterized by a deeper euphotic zone, higher biomass and greater proportion of autotrophic species. Hornsund seems to obtain more nutrients due to the extensive seabird colonies and exhibits higher turbidity compared to Kongsfjorden. The annual primary production in the analysed fjords ranges from 48 g C m-2 y-1 in Kongsfjorden to 216 g C m-2 y-1 in Hornsund, with a dominant component of microplankton (90%) followed by macrophytes and microphytobenthos.
Modern hydrology of a typical Arctic fjord (Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen, Sval− bard) was investigated and compared with commonly used in paleoceanography proxies: benthic foraminiferal assemblages and their stable isotope (#2;18O and #2;13C) composition. The benthic foraminifera from Hornsund comprised 45 species and 28 genera. Their spatial variations follow the zonation pattern, resulting from the influence of Atlantic water at the fjord mouth and glacial meltwaters at the fjord head. At the mouth of the fjord, the total number of species and the contribution of agglutinating species were the highest. In the in− ner part of fjord, the foraminiferal faunas were poor in species and individuals, and aggluti− nating species were absent. “Living” (stained) foraminifera were found to be common throughout the short sediment cores (~10 cm long) studied. The stable isotope values of #2;18O and #2;13C were measured on tests of four species: Elphidium excavatum forma clavata, Cassidulina reniforme, Nonionellina labradorica and Cibicides lobatulus. The results con− firmed the importance of species−specific vital effects, particularly in the case of C. loba− tulus. The variability in the isotopic composition measured on different individuals within a single sample are comparable to isotopic composition of the same species test between sam− pling stations. The temperatures and bottom water salinities calculated from #2;18O values in different foraminifera tests mirrored those recorded for bottom waters in the central and outer fjords relatively well. However, in the case of the inner fjord, where winter−cooled bottom waters were present, the calculated values from #2;18O were systematically higher by about 2#3;C. The obtained results imply that particular caution must be taken in interpretation of fjord benthic foraminifera assemblages in high resolution studies and in selection of ma− terial for isotope analyses and their interpretation in cores from inner fjords or silled fjords, where winter−cooled waters may be present.
Our macroscopic observations and microscopic studies conducted by means of a light microscope (LM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) concerning the reproduction biology of Colobanthus quitensis (Caryophyllaceae) growing in natural conditions in the Antarctic and in a greenhouse in Olsztyn (northern Poland) showed that this plant develops two types of bisexual flowers: opening, chasmogamous flowers and closed, cleistogamous ones. Cleistogamy was caused by a low temperature, high air humidity and strong wind. A small number of microspores differentiated in the microsporangia of C. quitensis , which is typical of cleistogamous species. Microsporocytes, and later micro − spores, formed very thick callose walls. More than twenty spheroidal, polypantoporate pollen grains differentiated in the microsporangium. They germinated on the surface of receptive cells on the dry stigma of the gynoecium or inside the microsporangium. A monosporic embryo sac of the Polygonum type differentiated in the crassinucellar ovule. During this differentiation the nucellus tissue formed and stored reserve materials. In the development of generative cells, a male germ unit (MGU) with differentiated sperm cells was observed. The smaller cell contained mainly mitochondria, and the bigger one plastids. In the process of fertilization in C. quitensis only one nucleus of the sperm cell, without cytoplasm fragments, entered the egg cell, and the proembryo developed according to the Caryophyllad type. Almost all C. quitensis ovules developed and formed perispermic seeds with a completely differentiated embryo both under natural conditions in the Antarctic and in a greenhouse in Olsztyn.
Plants adapt to extremely low temperatures in polar regions by maximizing their photosynthetic efficiency and accumulating cryoprotective and osmoprotective compounds. Flowering plants of the family Poaceae growing in the Arctic and in the Antarctic were investigated. Their responses to cold stress were analyzed under laboratory conditions. Samples were collected after 24 h and 48 h of cold treatment. Quantitative and qualitative changes of sugars are found among different species, but they can differ within a genus of the family Poaceae. The values of the investigated parameters in Poa annua differed considerably depending to the biogeographic origin of plants. At the beginning of the experiment, Antarctic plants were acclimatized in greenhouse characterized by significantly higher content of sugars, including storage reserves, sucrose and starch, but lower total protein content. After 24 h of exposure to cold stress, much smaller changes in the examined parameters were noted in Antarctic plants than in locally grown specimens. Total sugar content and sucrose, starch and glucose levels were nearly constant in P. annua, but they varied significantly. Those changes are responsible for the high adaptability of P. annua to survive and develop in highly unsupportive environments and colonize new regions.