Zooplankton community composition, abundance and biomass from two polar localities – Kongsfjorden (Arctic) and Admiralty Bay (Antarctic) is compared. The community composition of zooplankton in both polar regions included similar taxonomic groups and the diversity at the species level was similar. Even though the overall species composition was different, some species were common for both ecosystems, for example Oithona similis, Microcalanus pygmaeus or Eukrohnia hamata. The abundance and biomass of the main zooplankton components (Copepoda) differed greatly between the two ecosystems, both being of an order of magnitude higher in Kongsfjorden than in Admiralty Bay. Kongsfjorden is situated at the border of two regions what induces high productivity with copepods playing an important role, and there is also a strong advection into the fjord. Admiralty Bay is adjacent to the homogenous Antarctic oceanic ecosystem; some advection into the bay occurs as an effect of tide and wind driven processes. Antarctic krill, which was not included in the present study, occupies most of the primary consumers niche and replaces copepods at the second trophic level.
Sixty seven zooplankton taxa were recorded in a total of 5 WP-2 net vertical hauls carried out in a year round cycle in Admiralty Bay. Copepoda were the most common and abundant group and Oithona similis was the dominant species throughout the area. Polychaeta, Ostracoda and Chaetognatha were also rather common and abundant. Euphausiacea, Amphi-poda and Salpae occured mainly in the central part and the outlet area of the bay. No differences in zooplankton assemblages diversity in the four investigated areas of Admiralty Bay were encountered. However, distinct differences in species richness between the zooplankton of Ezcurra Inlet and the main basin of the bay were observed. The composition of zooplankton was rather stable throughout the year, but seasonal occurrences of larvae of Polychaeta, Crustacea, Echino-dermata and Ascidiacea were noted. A Ust of the 174 zooplankton taxa ever found in Admiralty Bay is presented by combining the present results with the existing scientific data.
Twenty six specimens of the polychaete Eulalia picta were found in finegrained sand tubes. Material was collected in the Antarctic fjord, Admiralty Bay at the depth of about 100 m. The comparison of tube sediment with the sediment composition at the collection site demonstrated that tubes were created with a high degree of particle selection. Our findings might suggest presence of the tube-building behavior in E. picta or show that this species is a highly specialized predator crawling into the tubes of other sessile polychaetes and uses their tubes as protective cases.
Fifteen species of isopods, representing 10 families, were recorded on holdfasts of the brown alga Himantothallus grandifolius . Material was collected in the 15–75 m depth range during the austral summer of 1979/80. The isopod community was dominated by Caecognathia antarctica (mean density 12.4 ± 13.1 ind./100 ml) followed by Cymodocella tubicauda (mean density 0.7 ± 2.1 ind./100 ml). Mean total density of isopods reached the value of 16.1 ± 14.0 ind./100 ml. The comparison with the other studies showed that hold− fasts are inhabited by a distinctive isopod community that differs from the isopod fauna associated with soft bottom of Admiralty Bay.
Pinnipeds were monitored in Admiralty Bay between 1988 and 1992. No particular trends during this period were found, but seasonal changes in each are distinct. It is suggested that the phenology of pinnipeds and that of penguins ensures low competition for food between these groups.
Studies on the quantity and distribution of organic carbon (DOC and РОС) in the water of the Admiralty Bay were conducted between 20 December 1978 and 15 February 1979. The С org. content ranged from 1.62 to 3.22 mg 1-1 for DOC and from 0.22 to 0.65 mg x 1-1 for РОС. Maximal DOC amounts were observed at the depth 25—50 m (on average about 2.50 mg x 1-1 ) and in chosen regions of surface waters of the Admiralty Bay, among others, in the vicinity of a large penguin colony. Mean content of DOC in waters of the Admiralty Bay (about 2.26 mg x 1-1 ) is lower as compared to mean DOC content in waters of the Bransfield Strait (about 4.12 mg x 1-1).
This study describes the seasonal and annual changes in the diet of non-breeding male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) through the analysis of faeces collected on shore during four summer seasons (1993/94-1996/97) in the area of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands). Krill was the most frequent prey, found in 88.3% of the 473 samples. Fish was present in 84.7% of the samples, cephalopods and penguins in 12.5% each. Of the 3832 isolated otoliths, 3737 were identified as belonging to 17 fish species. The most numerous species were: Gymnoscopelus nicholsi, Electrona antarctica , Chionodraco rastrospinosus, Pleuragramma antarcticum, and Notolepis coatsi. In January, almost exclusively, were taken pelagic Myctophidae constituting up to 90% of the total consumed fish biomass. However, in February and March, the number of bentho-pelagic Channichthyidae and Nototheniidae as well as pelagic Paralepididae increased significantly, up to 45% of the biomass. In April the biomass of Myctophidae increased again. The frequency of squid and penguin occurrence was similar and low, but considering the greater individual body mass of penguins, their role as a food item may be much greater. In March and April, penguins could be as important prey item as fish. The amount of krill in the diet of Antarctic fur seals declined with a concomitant decrease in the mature krill availability. This appears to have been compensated by an increased frequency of the fur seal to eat fish and penguins.
A new thambematid species, Thambema thunderstruckae sp. n., is described from King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic. Specimens of the new species were collected during two Polish Antarctic Expeditions in 1985 and 2007. It is the first record of this family from the Southern Hemisphere. The new species most closely resembles Thambema golanachum Harrison, 1987 and T. fiatum Harrison, 1987 but can be distinguished from both species by the shape of male pleopod 1, the number of claws on pereopods 2–7 and the setation of pereopod 1 and 2 carpus, respectively. A key to all known genera and species in the family Thambematidae is also provided.
Seventy−six species of Polychaeta were found in 19 quantitative samples collected in the deep sublittoral (200–500 m) of Admiralty Bay (South Shetlands). Three assemblages were distinguished by similarity analysis (clustering, nMDS). The soft bottom in depths from 200 to 300m was strongly dominated by Maldane sarsi antarctica and had very low species richness and diversity. The second assemblage was distinguished in the areas of the sea floor in the same depth range but with aggregations of Ascidiacea and Bryozoa. It was again characterized by high abundance of Maldane sarsi antarctica , but showed significantly higher species richness and diversity. Diversity of polychaete feeding guilds was also high in these areas. This pattern was probably associated with an increased habitat complexity due to the presence of dense aggregations of large suspension feeders. High species richness and diversity was also noted in the third assemblage, associated with the deepest sublittoral (400–500 m) of Admiralty Bay. This is the area characterized by very stable environmental conditions, where the assemblage was dominated by Tharyx cincinnatus , Sternaspis sp., Maldane sarsi antarctica , and Asychis amphiglypta .
The study was aimed at analyzing patterns of abundance and diversity of macrozoobenthic communities along a depth gradient in the Admiralty Bay, a semi-enclosed basin located in a rapidly changing region of the western Antarctic Peninsula. The study concerns primarily the Polychaeta and Amphipoda, the taxonomic richness and diversity of both groups being analyzed at different taxonomic levels (species, genus and family). Such an analysis, which uses a basic surrogacy measure (low taxonomic resolution) can be very useful in future monitoring programs of the Admiralty Bay. The analysis was based on 35 samples collected in the summer seasons of 1984/85 and 1985/86, with a Tvärminne sampler (within the 7–30 m depth range) and an 0.1 m2 van Veen grab (deeper areas) along a transect with the depth changing from 7 to 502 m. The total macrozoobenthos abundance was found to decrease with depth, from 1581 ± 730 ind./0.1 m2 within the 7–30 m to as few as 384 ± 145 ind./0.1 m2 at 400–500 m. The number of phyla per sample was observed to increase along the depth gradient of 7–30 to 200–300 m but was substantially reduced in the deepest sublittoral (400–500 m). The results showed large differences between amphipods and polychaetes in their respective depth-related biodiversity changes. On the other hand, the diversity metrics used (Pielou’s evenness, Shannon-Wiener index, number of species per sample, number of genera per sample, number of families per sample) at different taxonomic levels within each group produced similar patterns, demonstrating the usefulness of surrogacy in studies of Antarctic fjords.
The paper summarizes results of twenty years of seabird observations carried out between 1977 and 1996 on the western shore of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands, Antarctic). Changes in population size, distribution and phenology of the breeding species as well as the appearance of non-breeding species are reported. A total of 34 species of birds were observed, including 13 breeding species. Among the non-breeding species, four were observed to visit the site regularly, six rarely, and the remaining 11 were observed only occasionally. Among breeding populations, three Pygoscelis penguin species, the main krill consumers, were most numerous. The Adélie Penguin (P. adeliae) dominated among the penguins nesting in the investigated areas, reaching 23,661 breeding pairs in 1978. Two other penguin species were less abundant with population sizes of approximately 7,200 breeding pairs for the Chinstrap Penguin (P. antarcticus) and 3,100 breeding pairs for the Gentoo Penguin (P. papua) in the same year. During the following two decades, breeding populations of pygoscelid species experienced a declining trend and their numbers were reduced by 68.0% for Chinstrap, 67.1% for Gentoo, and 33.9% for Adélie Penguins. The data reported here represent a unique reference basis and provide valuable information about indicator species, suitable for comparison with contemporary observations of bird populations in the Antarctic Peninsula region, a place of rapidly occurring climate changes and intensive harvesting of marine living resources.
A comparison between the levels of infection with Acanthocephala of the fish Notothenia coriiceps in Admiralty Bay (South Shetland Islands, Antarctic) in 1978/79 and 2007/08 is presented. The same eight acanthocephalan species, three echinorhynchids maturing in fish, Aspersentis megarhynchus (dominant species), Metacanthocephalus johnstoni (subdominant species) and M. dalmori (common species), and five polymorphids maturing in mammals and birds, Corynosoma hamanni , C. pseudohamanni (both co−dominant species), C. arctocephali and C. bullosum (both common species), and C. shackletoni (rare species), were found. Echinorhynchids were more numerous in 2007/08 (mean abundance 46.54 versus 35.35 in 1978/79), whereas polymorphids more numerous in 1978/79 (mean abundance 74.35 versus 36.40 in 2007/08). The overall results therefore demonstrated that echinorhynchids were more numerous than polymorphids in 2007/08 and the reverse was true in 1978/79. This situation is dependent mainly upon the decreased infections with C. hamanni , C. pseudohamanni and C. bullosum , and to a lesser degree upon the increasing of infections with M. johnstoni . The decrease of the three Corynosoma spp. is possibly associated with the decreasing of populations of final hosts, seals, on the shore of Admiralty Bay in the vicinity of Arctowski Station.
Net phytoplankton cell numbers in 50 m water column of Admiralty Bay ranged between 0.2 x 10 5 x m-2 on 24 August 1990 and 2.3 x 10 7 x m-2 on 15 November 1990. Cluster analysis has confirmed the presence of two groups of samples: spring and summer ones (October to April), rich in cells and in species, and, on the other hand, winter samples (June to August) impoverished in algae. Spring and summer fluctuations of diatoms were mainly due to Corethron criophilum, Rhizosolenia alata and its varieties, R. hebetata f. semispina, Thalassiosira spp., Chaetoceros spp., and Nitzschia spp. (Fragilariopsis and Pseudonitzschia groups). The abundance and succession of species in Admiralty Bay reflect seasonal differences in diatom growth; they also reflect mixed populations of the Weddell and Bellingshausen seas entering Admiralty Bay via Bransfield Strait. Striking poverty of algae in some summer samples can most likely be attributed to zooplankton grazing.