Materials used in this work were collected during BIOM ASS - SIBEX project in the Drake Passage and the Bransfield Strait (1983/1984) in three water layers: 0 - 100 m, 100 — 300 m and 300—500 m. Four species of Chaetognatha were found: Eukrohnia hamata and Sagitta gazellae in both water regions; Sagitta planctonis occurred mainly in the Drake Passage whereas Sagitta marri was noted in the Bransfield Strait and adjacent parts of the Bellingshausen and Scotia seas. Chaetognatha were most numerous in the Drake Passage and generally in the layer 100 — 300 m. Vertical distribution of Chaetognatha was clearly influenced hydrological conditions.
Material for this paper was collected during the BIOMASS-SIBEX research programme, and consisted of 97 samples taken at 47 stations in Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait (Antarctica). The samples were taken by hauling Nansen nets vertically through the 0-100, 100 - 300 and 300 - 500 m layers at the end of December 1983 and the beginning of January 1984. Four Chaetognatha species were recorded in the study region: Eukrohnia hamata, Sagitta gazellae, Sagitta mari and Sagitta planctonis. The population structures of the dominant species E. hamata and also S. gazellae were analyzed in the context of the region's hydrology. Certain regularities are apparent in the distribution of the developmental stages of E. hamata in water column. Mature specimens of this species inhabit deeper waters than juveniles. The highest proportions of juveniles in the entire population of E. hamata were recorded in slightly warmer waters.
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.