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.
The paper deals with the structural variability and generative reproduction of Saxifraga oppositifolia populations in eight localities situated in Western Spitsbergen. The localities differed in terms of humidity, soil fertility, microclimate and frequency of disturbances. The population structure, the growth and development rate of individuals in the sea terrace and at the peat-bog prove that a dense plant cover influences positively the development of S. oppositifolia. The size of individuals, their biomass and population density is limited in most of the studied localities. Solifluction is the factor influencing the development of a population to the greatest extent. Of all the researched populations the weakest development was observed in the active structural grounds. Yearly changes in the structure of the populations as well as the yearly growth of the species studied are limited. The longevity, the development rate and size of the seedling recruitment are subject to modifications caused by the solifluction.
The population structure, seasonal and diel changes in vertical distribution of two siphonophore species, Dimophyes arctica and Pyrostephos vanhoeffeni , in Croker Passage (Antarctic Peninsula) are examined, and compared with the results obtained by other au− thors in various oceanic areas. Zooplankton samples were taken at discrete depth intervals between 0 and 1200 m during day and night shifts, in both summer and winter seasons. Dimophyes arctica was present both in polygastric and eudoxid forms, with the latter being dominant throughout the entire study period. The results obtained demonstrate that Antarctic waters clearly enhance the reproductive ability of this species when compared with specimens from other oceanic regions. Maximum densities of Dimophyes arctica were recorded in December in the 200–400 m depth horizon. However, high concentrations of eudoxids were also recorded at deeper parts of the water column. Pyrostephos vanhoeffeni was, in contrast, most abundant in autumn and winter, and both species were found to proliferate and disperse or sink further down the water column during autumn and winter. Daily vertical migration was observed only during the summer period.
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.
Dynamic climate changes have become noticeable in recent decades, especially in the vulnerable region of the West Antarctic. The relatively simple food web of this area relies on krill – Euphausia superba . Presumably, as a result of climatic fluctuations, a de− crease in the number of this crustacean has been recorded, followed by an increase in the population of the gelatinous zooplankter Salpa thompsoni . In the research presented herein, population and morphometric analyses of Salpa thompsoni have been conducted. Specimens for this research were collected from the Drake Passage, using a Bongo net in the summer season of 2010. It has been found that the horizontal distribution of this gelatinous zooplankter was significantly irregular (Kruskal−Wallis test, p < 0.001). In the northern part of the investigated area, both blastozooids and oozooids were recorded, which confirms the dynamic development of this species. The central part of the Drake Passage was characterized by the dominance of blastozooids, with embryos found at different stages of the development. Only in the region of the South Shetland Islands, the salpid population was characterized by reduced or even stopped reproduction. The immense reproductive efficiency observed in the Salpa thompsoni population was mostly induced by the favourable thermal conditions. These observations may suggest that the ongoing climat changes in the West Antarctic will promote the population expansion of this species.
Long term changes (46 years) in the a bundance of pygoscelid penguins breeding populations and nests distribution in the Lions Rump (King George Island) colony were investigated in three time intervals, according to previously published two censuses and one original study conducted in 2010. At that time a detailed colony map based on the GIS system was made. Results of this study showed different trends for each investigated species. In the last three decades Adélie penguin breeding populations showed strong declining tendencies (69.61%). In contrast, the population of gentoo penguins represents the reverse trend, increasing 171.85% over the same period. Observed changes in both penguin population sizes are reflected in the different spatial and geographic distribution of their nests. The population changes observed at the Lions Rump colony are consistent with the relevant pygoscelid penguin tendencies in the western Antarctic Peninsula region. Breeding penguin population dynamics at Lions Rump area with a minimal disturbance by human activity may well illustrate a natural response of those birds to environmental changes in the Antarctic.