Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research

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Polish Polar Research | 2013 | No 3 |

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Abstract

Defining species boundaries, due to morphological variation, often represents a significant challenge in paleozoology. In this paper we report results from multi− and univariate data analyses, such as enhanced clustering techniques, principal coordinates ordination method, kernel density estimations and finite mixture model analyses, revealing some morphometric patterns within the Eocene Antarctic representatives of Palaeeudyptes penguins. These large−sized birds were represented by two species, P. gunnari and P. klekowskii , known mainly from numerous isolated bones. Investigations focused on tarsometatarsi, crucial bones in paleontology of early penguins, resulted in a probability−based framework allowing for the “fuzzy” partitioning the studied specimens into two taxa with partly overlapping size distributions. Such a number of species was supported by outcomes from both multi− and univariate studies. In our opinion, more reliance should be placed on the quantitative analysis of form when distinguishing between species within the Antarctic Palaeeudyptes .
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Authors and Affiliations

Piotr Jadwiszczak
Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche
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Abstract

Cold−adapted marine bacteria producing extracellular hydrolytic enzymes are important for their industrial application and play a key role in degradation of particulate or ganic matter in their natural environment. In this work, members of a previously−obtained protease−producing bacterial collection isolated from different marine sources from Potter Cove (King George Island, South Shetlands) were taxonomically identified and screened for their ability to produce other economically relevant enzymes. Eighty−eight proteolytic bacterial isolates were grouped into 25 phylotypes based on their Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis profiles. The sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes from representative isolates of the phylotypes showed that the predominant culturable protease−producing bacteria belonged to the class Gammaproteobacteria and were affiliated to the genera Pseudomonas , Shewanella , Colwellia , and Pseudoalteromonas , the latter being the predominant group (64% of isolates). In addition, members of the classes Actinobacteria, Bacilli and Flavobacteria were found. Among the 88 isolates screened we detected producers of amylases (21), pectinases (67), cellulases (53), CM−cellulases (68), xylanases (55) and agarases (57). More than 85% of the isolates showed at least one of the extracellular enzymatic activities tested, with some of them producing up to six extracellular enzymes. Our results confirmed that using selective conditions to isolate producers of one extracellular enzyme activity increases the probability of recovering bacteria that will also produce additional extracellular enzymes. This finding establishes a starting point for future programs oriented to the prospecting for biomolecules in Antarctica.
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Authors and Affiliations

Mauro Tropeano
Susana Vázquez
Silvia Coria
Adrián Turjanski
Daniel Cicero
Andrés Bercovich
Walter Mac Cormack
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Abstract

During three austral summer seasons, dust and soil from clothes, boots and equipment of members of scientific expeditions and tourists visiting the Polish Antarctic Station Henryk Arctowski were collected and analysed for the presence of fungal propagules. Of a total of 60 samples, 554 colonies of fungi belonging to 19 genera were identified. Colonies of the genus Cladosporium , Penicillium and non−sporulating fungus ( Mycelia sterilia ) dominated in the examined samples. The microbiological assessment of air for the presence of fungi was also conducted at two points in the station building and two others outside the station. A total of 175 fungal colonies belonging to six genera were isolated. Colonies of the genus Penicillium were the commonest in the air samples. The potential epidemiological consequences for indigenous species as a result of unintentional transport of fungal propagules to the Antarctic biome are discussed in the light of rapid climate change in some parts of the Ant − arctic and adaptation of fungi to extreme conditions.
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Authors and Affiliations

Maria Olech
Katarzyna J. Chwedorzewska
Anna Augustyniuk-Kram
Maria Lityńska-Zając
Małgorzata Korczak-Abshire
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Abstract

During a cruise to Svalbard in September 2012 a unique collection of the little known but widely distributed Atlantic spiny lumpsucker ( Eumicrotremus spinosus ) was made in the Hinlopen Strait. A total of 140 individuals (36–101mm total length) were collected using a bottom trawl. All individuals were sexed and 26 of these were also analysed for gonadosomatic index (GSI), hepatosomatic index (HSI) and stomach content. The sex ratio of the entire sample showed a strong bias towards females (75% of all examined specimens). The GSI ranged from 1.4 to 5.8% except for one female with a GSI of 20%. All females carried gonads in which eggs were clearly visible, independent of size, indicative of an early sexual maturation and an iteroparous life cycle of females. All examined specimens had almost an exclusively pelagic diet, with Themisto libellula constituting 100% of the stomach content in 80% of the examined fishes. The results are discussed in relation to diel vertical migration of Arctic zooplankton and deep migrating layers.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jørgen Berge
Jasmine Nahrgang
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Abstract

This paper presents distribution and properties of soils within the Fuglebekken catchment in neighbourhood of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago). The present study describes 8 representative soil profiles out of 34 profiles studied for the whole catchment. Soils of the Fuglebekken catchment show initial stage of their formation because of very slow rate of chemical and biological weathering in Arctic climate conditions . Uplifted marine terraces of the Fuglebekken catchment are characterized by domination of Haplic Cryosols which ar e related to stony and gravelly parent material (reworked marine sediments). Such soils constitute of 17% of the studied area. Turbic Cryosols forming characteristic micro−relief occur on flat surfaces and gentle slopes. Such soils (covering 7% of the catchment) are formed from loamy parent material. Along streams Hyperskeletic Cryosols (Reduc taquic) and Turbic Histic Cryosols occur. The last two soil units (constituting 11% of the catchment) are mantled by continuous and dense vegetation cover (especially mosses) due to high content of water rich in nutrients flowing from colonies of sea birds located on slopes of Ariekammen and Fugleberget. The studied soils are generally characterized by shallow occurrence of permafrost ( i.e. at 30–50 cm), high content of pebbles, sandy or sandy loam texture, and neutral or s lightly alkaline reaction. Soils occurring along streams and near colonies of sea birds show higher content of nutrients (N and P) in comparison with other soils and are covered by more dense vegetation. This indicates important impact of bird guano on chemical composition of soil solution and fertility of such soils.
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Authors and Affiliations

Wojciech Szymański
Stefan Skiba
Bronisław Wojtuń
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Abstract

Hørbyebreen surged in the 19th or early 20th century, as suggested by geomorphological evidences and looped medial moraines. In this study, we investigate its wide−spread geometry changes and geodetic mass balance with 1960 contour lines, 1990 and 2009 digital elevation models, in order to define the present−day state of the glacier. We also study its thermal structure from ground−penetrating radar data. Little is known about the glacier behaviour in the first part of the 20th century, but from its surge maximum until 1960 it has been retreating and losing its area. In the period 1960–1990, fast frontal thinning (2–3 m a −1 ) and a slow mass build−up in the higher zones (~0.15 m a −1 ) have been noted, resulting in generally negative mass balance (−0.40 ± 0.07 m w. eq. a −1 ). In the last studied period 1990–2009, the glacier showed an acceleration of mass loss (−0.64 m ± 0.07 w. eq. a −1 ) and no build−up was observed anymore. We conclude that Hørbyebreen system under present climate will not surge anymore and relate this behaviour to a considerable increase in summer temperature on Svalbard after 1990. Radar soundings indicate that the studied glacial system is polythermal, with temperate ice below 100–130 m depth. It has therefore not (or not yet) switched to cold−bedded, as has been suggested in previous works for some small Svalbard surge−type glaciers in a negative mass balance mode.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jakub Małecki
Samuel Faucherre
Mateusz C. Strzelecki

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