An investigation of cyanobacterial microflora in the northern, deglaciated part of James Ross Island in the NW part of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica , was conducted during the Antarctic summer season 2005-2006. Five main types of habitats with dominant cyanobacterial assemblages were analyzed (soils, seepages, streams, wetted rocky walls and lakes), and main ecological variables were measured (pH, temperature, intensity of global radiation, conductivity and nutrients), as a background for further ecological and ecophysiological studies. The definable traditional cyanobacterial morphospecies were identified.
Tonnacypris glacialis (G.O. Sars, 1890) is a meiobenthic species widely distributed in Arctic freshwater lakes. Field study of its life cycle as well as the laboratory experiments showed clearly that only one generation of this ostracod species occurs during the vegetation season, and that the condition necessary for the next generation to appear is eggs freezing.
The Hornsund region is characterised by a topoclimatic variation, which results principally from the local orography, the vicinity of open sea and the two contrasting environments: non-glaciated and glaciated. The specific types of atmospheric circulation determine the local thermal differences. The west coast is characterised by the most favourable thermal conditions, where air temperature is largely determined by foehn processes. The temperature at the Baranowski Station is 0.8°C higher on average than that of the Polish Polar Station on the northern shore of Hornsund . The temperature in the northern shore of the fjord happens to be higher than that on the west coast, which is attributed to the NW cyclonic inflow of cool Arctic air masses. During intermediate weather, when ground frost-thaw takes place, the northern shore of Hornsund is warmer by 0.5°C ; whereas, during moderately frosty weather, it is warmer by 0.2°C than the west coast. The differences result from the effect of the warmer fjord waters on the surrounding air temperature. During moderately warm weather, more favourable conditions occur near the Baranowski Station, expressed by the mean temperature difference of 0.9°C. The greatest temperature difference of 1.5°C on average is normally recorded during warm weather.
This paper describes the spatial differentiation of topoclimatic conditions in the vicinity of the Arctowski Station (King George Island, Antarctica) during the summer season of the 2006/2007. The measurement stations were located in the Point Thomas oasis as well as on the Ecology Glacier and Warszawa Icefield. The paper analyses meteorological elements such as air temperature, air humidity (eight sites) and wind direction and velocity (three sites). Significant topoclimatic diversities resulting from denivelation, exposure, ground properties and local air circulation were recorded in the study area.
Surface phytoplankton samples were studied quantitatively and qualitatively in February 1996 - November 1998 and January 2003 - November 2005 at the shore and in the center of Admiralty Bay, King George Island. Phytoplankton assemblages showed spring-summer peaks (maxima 4.0-5.2×106 cells l-1) associated with small variations in low atmospheric pressure, and low velocity winds. They were dominated by nano-sized (<20 µm) flagellates and picoplankton (~2 µm). The prevalent nanoflagellates were either Prasinophyceae, Cryptophyceae, or Prymnesiophyceae. Diatoms were next in abundance. Of the seven spring-summer diatom blooms, five had initiated at the shore (maximum 9.8×105 cells l-1; November 1998). They were significantly greater than in the open water, and did not spread into the bay centre. Two observed open water blooms did not reach the shore. Diatoms formed up to 44% of the total cells in the period 1996-98; they only formed <5% in 2003-05. Shore and open water populations differed by diatom dominance structure. Pennates (Fragilariopsis spp., F. cylindrus, Pseudo-nitzschia spp.), and benthic species were prevalent at the shore; centrics (Thalassiosira spp., Chaetoceros socialis) were most common offshore. In 2003-05 diatoms were relatively impoverished in Chaetoceros spp. and the larger (>20 µm) Fragilariopsis spp. Nano-sized Thalassiosira spp. were the winter dominants. Diatom species dominance structure may change at each of the two sites within a month (e.g. shore site: F. cylindrus dominant in October ’98; T. gravida in November ’98). Dinoflagellates showed summer increases associated with diatom blooms. Variations in phytoplankton cell concentrations, the species structures between the shore and open waters, and between seasons appear to be related to physical factors: changes in wind velocity and direction, inflow of waters from the Bransfield Strait, ice melting and changes in atmospheric pressure.
Zinc concentrations in apices [Zn 2+]apex of the lichens, Cladonia arbuscula and C. rangiferina were determined along transects through two sub-Arctic towns in the Usa River Basin, northeast European Russia. One transect, which was 130 km long running in an east-west direction, passed through the town of Vorkuta and the other transect, which was 240 km long running in a southwest-northeast direction, passed through Inta. Zinc accumulation in lichens, which was detected 25-40 km within the vicinity of Vorkuta, was largely attributed to local emissions of alkaline coal ash from coal combustion. The present results using C. arbuscula around Vorkuta are consistent with those of previous studies suggesting that this lichen is a useful bioindicator for trace metals. There was no such elevation of [Zn 2+]apex detected in C. rangiferina along the transect running through Inta.
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.
The purpose of this study was to present the current state of avifauna in the vicinity of Polish Polar Station, at Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen). During four seasons (2003-2006) ten bird species were recorded as breeding there. Among them colonial little auk and Arctic tern were most abundant. Six additional species were noted during the breeding season but none of them bred there and their visits in the study plots were a consequence of their nesting nearby study area. Remaining 11 species were recorded during migration. The most pronounced changes over the last 35 years has been a considerable increase in number of barnacle geese exploiting the tundra as their foraging and resting area.
Spitsbergen glaciers react rapidly to changes in the polar environment, which is expressed in differences in extent of their fronts and surface geometry. The Scott Glacier, which is situated in the NW part of Wedel Jarlsberg Land, is an example of the glacier that has undergone almost continuous recession since the Little Ice Age, interrupted by surges. The variations in recession are characterised based on multiannual data with particularly consideration of the period 1990–2005 and the season 2005/2006. Acceleration of front recession and lowering the surface was found only within the tongue up to a height of about 220 m a.s.l. Whereas, in the area situated in the zone of rock steps and above in the ablation zone, the change of glacier surface ablation (Dh) has been recorded compared to the mean annual recession for the period 1990–2005. Moreover, for the upper firn field, the positive surface ablation (DhS7 = +0.19 m) was observed. As the result of progressive reduction of the Scott Glacier mass, with the participation of other factors (bedrock relief among others), new surfaces of roche moutonnée are uncovering particularly in the tongue zone.
Bowseria arctowskii gen. et sp. nov., a new organic-walled monothalamous (single-chamber) foraminiferan is described from samples collected in Admiralty Bay (King George Island, West Antarctica) at 100- 200 m water-depth (mwd). The species is characterized by a large (1- 2 mm) elongate theca with a single terminal aperture. Molecular phylogenetic analyses, based on partial small subunit rDNA sequences, indicate that the new species belong to a clade of single-chambered foraminifers that branch as a sister group to the multi-chambered textulariids and rotaliids. The most closely related to the new species is an undetermined allogromiid from under the Ross Ice Shelf.
Ornithogenic tundra developing near large seabird colonies with its dense vegetation creates sites for foraging, hiding and breeding of herbivores. Grazing, trampling and faeces deposition are considered as the most important ways that vertebrate herbivores influence the plants. Excrement deposition level informs us on the intensity of grazing i.e. foraging ground attractiveness. We have compared vertebrate herbivores’ faeces deposition (biomass) in the vicinity of big colonies of piscivorous (kittiwake Rissa tridactyla and Brünnich’s guillemot Uria lomvia) and planktivorous (little auk Alle alle) seabirds and the control area was in Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen. Much higher level of faeces deposition was recorded nearby seabird colonies as compared to the control area. These finding points out that vertebrate herbivores concentrate and feed more intensively on rich ornithogenic pastures. Number of herbivores and their faeces deposition level recorded nearby planktivorous seabird colony were greater as compared to those found nearby the colony of piscivores. The highest number of geese (Branta bernicla and Anser brachyrhynchus) and of their faeces biomass were found near the colony of planktivorous little auk, where distinct gradient in faeces deposition level along the colony-seashore axis was recorded. Reindeers Rangifer tarandus were observed in considerable numbers near the little auk colony, and were not recorded at all near cliff-nesting sites of kittiwakes and guillemots. Total deposition of excrements produced by geese was generally higher if compared to reindeers.
The buoyant hypopycnal flow of brackish water and suspended sediment transport and settling were studied in two sub-polar fjords: the glacial Kongsfjörden and the outwash (non-glacial contact) Adventfjörden, Svalbard . The data presented indicates faster water mixing on the tidal flat in comparison to the englacial runoff, which leads to faster horizontal density gradients decreases in the non-glaciated fjord. The fast settling of particles in the narrow zone of the steep slope at the edge of the tidal flat leads to the removal of 25% of the surface suspended sediment. The rapid settling is due to increasing salinity, decreasing velocity, and flocculation of fine particles. The fast settling of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the tidal flat area causes sediment redeposition and resuspension followed by sediment transport along the bottom with hyperpycnal flows. This leads to grain sorting in the fjord head. In contrast, at the glacier front, SPM is transported farther into the fjord, where tidal pumping and water mixing lead to the removal of 71% of total SPM. The fjords investigated represent two different sedimentological regimes. In the glaciated Kongsfjörden, the buoyant hypopycnal flow of brackish water is the main sediment transporting factor. In the non-glacial Adventfjörden, hyperpycnal flows transport sediment along the bottom.