Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research

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Polish Polar Research | 2014 | No 4 |

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Abstract

The Fleming Fjord Formation (Jameson Land, East Greenland) documents a diverse assemblage of terrestrial vertebrates of Late Triassic age. Expeditions from the turn of the 21st century have discovered many important fossils that form the basis of our current knowledge of Late Triassic Greenlandic faunas. However, due to the scarcity and incompleteness of the fossils and their insufficient study, our understanding of the taxonomic diversity of the Fleming Fjord Formation is hindered. Here, we report the preliminary findings of a Polish−Danish expedition to the Fleming Fjord Formation that took place in 2014. Three areas were visited – the fairly well known MacKnight Bjerg and Wood Bjerg and the virtually unexplored Liasryggen. MacKnigth Bjerg and Liasryggen yielded fossils which promise to significantly broaden our knowledge of vertebrate evolution in the Late Triassic. Stem−mammal remains were discovered at Liasryggen. Other fossils found at both sites include remains of actinopterygians, sarcopterygians, temnospondyl amphibians and various archosaurs (including early dinosaurs). Numerous vertebrate trace fossils, including coprolites, pseudosuchian footprints, theropod and sauropodomorph dinosaur tracks, were also discovered. Newly discovered skeletal remains as well as abundant trace fossils indicate higher tetrapod diversity in the Late Triassic of Greenland than previously thought. Trace fossils also allow inferences of early theropod and sauropodomorph dinosaur behaviour.
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Authors and Affiliations

Tomasz Sulej
Andrzej Wolniewicz
Niels Bonde
Błażej Błażejowski
Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki
Mateusz Tałanda
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Abstract

Palaeomagnetic−petrographic−structural analyses of Proterozoic–Lower Palaeozoic metamorphosed carbonates from 12 locations within Oscar II Land (Western Spitsbergen) have been carried out to determine their usefulness in palaeogeographic reconstructions for Caledonian time. Structural analyses confirm that metacarbonates record several stages of deformation: D1, D2 ductile phases related to Caledonian metamorphism and a D3 brittle phase related to Late Cretaceous–Paleogene evolution of the West Spitsbergen Fold Belt. The latter is represented by thrust faults, localized folds with strain slip cleavages and late extensional collapse. Petrographic investigations reveal that Caledonian greenschist facies metamorphism was characterized by the high activity of H 2 O−CO 2 −rich fluids which promoted extensive recrystallization and within−rock spatial reorganization of sampled meta carbonates. Microscopic, SEM and microprobe analyses exclude the existence of any primary pre−metamorphic ferromagnetic minerals (primary−related to sedimentation and or early diagenesis) and point to metamorphic 4C superstructure (Fe 7 S 8 ) pyrrhotite as the main ferromagnetic carrier in investigated rocks. This is confirmed by the three−component isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM) procedures and the results of thermal demagnetizations. In 12 sites a total number of 72 independently oriented palaeomagnetic samples were collected from which 181 specimens were drilled and thermally demagnetized. Sampled metacarbonates are weakly magnetized (NRM <0.2mA/m). The statistically significant palaeomagnetic results were achieved only from 1 of 12 investigated sites. In one site situated in the Western overturned limb of the Holmesletfjellet Syncline intermediate unblocking temperatures – “pyrrhotite related” component WTSJ5M superimposed on the S1 Caledonian schistosity was recognized (D = 100.7 ° , I = −21.4 °a 95% = 5.5 ° , k = 58.23). Coincidence of WTSJ5M with Silurian–Devonian sector of the Baltica reference path after unfolding of the syncline by the angle of 130 ° suggests synfolding origin of this direction. Further, this suggests that Holmesletfjellet Syncline originated as an open fold and has been transformed into an overturned syncline during the Late Caledonian shortening or in the Late Cretaceous–Palaeogene time.
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Authors and Affiliations

Krzysztof Michalski
Justyna Domańska-Siuda
Krzysztof Nejbert
Geoffrey Manby
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Abstract

In this study, selected heavy metals resistant heterotrophic bacteria isolated from soil samples at the Windmill Islands region, Wilkes Land (East Antarctica), were characterized. Phylogenetic analysis revealed affiliation of isolates to genera Bacillus , Lysinibacillus , Micrococcus and Stenotrophomonas . The strains were found to be psychrotolerant and halotolerant, able to tolerate up to 10% NaCl in the growth medium. The Minimum Inhibitory Concentration of the seven heavy metals Cr, Cu, Ni, Co, Cd, Zn, and Pb was deter − mined in solid media for each bacterial strain. Gram−positive Vi−2 strain and Gram−negative Vi−4 strain showed highest multiply heavy metals resistance, and Vi−3 and Vi−4 strains showed multi−antibiotic resistance to more than a half of the 13 used antibiotics. Plasmids were detected only in Gram−negative Vi−4 strain. The bacteria were able to produce different hydrolytic enzymes including industrially important proteases, xylanases, cellulases, and b −glucosidases. High heavy metals resistance of the Antarctic bacteria suggests their potential application for wastewater treatment in cold and temperate climates. Highly sensitive to Cd and Co ions Vi−1, Vi−5 and Vi−7 strains would be promising for developing biosensors to detect these most toxic heavy metals in environmental samples.
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Authors and Affiliations

Iva Tomova
Evgenia Vasileva-Tonkova
Margarita Stoilova-Disheva
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Abstract

This paper presents a complex study on ciliates from the different species of mosses of King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic. Samples of ciliates were collected from Polytrichastrum alpinum , Sanionia georgico−uncinata , Sanionia uncinata and Brachythecium austrosalebrosum . The highest species richness (19 taxa) occurred in habitats from Brachythecium austrosalebrosum . The lowest number of taxa (5) was observed in Polytrichastrum alpinum . The greatest abundance of ciliates was found in samples from Brachythecium austrosalebrosum (25–30 ind. g −1 ), while the lowest was found in samples from Polytrichastrum (4–6 ind. g −1 ). In each species of mosses, vertical differentiation of these protozoa assemblages was found. The number of species and abundance significantly increased in the lower samples. The upper samples of mosses were dominated by mixotrophic taxa, whereas samples from the lower part the proportions of bacterivore species increases. The RDA performed to specify the direct relationships between the abundance of ciliate taxa and environmental variables showed obvious differences between habitats studied. However, variables that significantly explained the variance in ciliate communities were: dissolved oxygen, pH, and nutrients.
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Authors and Affiliations

Tomasz Mieczan
Monika Tarkowska-Kukuryk
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Abstract

This study investigated leaf mesophyll cells of Caryophyllaceae plants growing in polar regions – Cerastium alpinum and Silene involucrata from the Hornsund region of Spitsbergen island (Svalbard Archipelago, Arctic), and Colobanthus quitensis from the Admiralty Bay region on King George Island (South Shetland Islands, West Antarctic). Ultra− structural changes were analyzed in mesophyll protoplasts of plants growing in natural Arctic and Antarctic habitats and plants grown in a greenhouse, including plants exposed to short−term cold stress under se mi−controlled conditions. Cell organelles of plants growing in natural polar habitats and greenhouse−grown plants were characterized by significant morphological plasticity. Chloroplasts of plants studied in this work formed variously shaped protrusions and invaginations that visibly increased the contact area between adjacent cell compartments and reduced the distance between organelles. S. involucrata plants grown under greenhouse conditions, tested by us in this wor k, were characterized by highly dynamic cell nuclei with single or multiple invaginations of the nuclear membrane and the presence of channels and cisternae filled with cytoplasm and organelles. Crystalline inclusion proteins were observed in the cell nuclei of C. quitensis between nuclear membranes and in the direct proximity of heterochromatin. Our study revealed significant conformational dynamics of organelles, manifested by variations in the optical density of matrices, membranes and envelopes, in particular in C. quitensis , which could suggest that the analyzed Caryophyllaceae taxa are well adapted to severe climate and changing conditions in polar regions.
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Authors and Affiliations

Irena Giełwanowska
Michał Węgrzyn
Maja Lisowska
Marta Pastorczyk
Ryszard J. Górecki

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