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.
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.
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 .
Eleven species of cumaceans were found in 105 samples collected in Admiralty Bay (King George Island) in the summers of 1984/85 and 1985/86, from 20 to 500 m depth range. Four cumacean assemblages were distinguished using the multivariate analysis. They were characterized by the dominance of one or two species often with low density values. Two assemblages were found in open waters of Admiralty Bay. The first inhabited on sandy−clay−silt and silty−clay−sand bottom deposits in the depth range from 140 to 330 m, with Campylaspis maculata (1.6 ± 2.1 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 72.4%) and Leucon sp. (1.4 ± 1.6 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 68.9%) as key species. The second assemblage was found in the depth range from 50 to 120 m with silty−sand sediments, and it was characterized by the presence of Vauthompsonia inermis (6.5 ± 6.6 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 92.0%). A third assemblage was found in shallow waters influenced by glaciers in the bottom area of Ezcurra Inlet. It was characterized by sandy−clay−silt sediments and the presence of Eudorella splendida (14.6 ± 9.4 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 100.0%) as a core species. The last assemblage was found in the shallow sublittoral (50–100 m) of Ezcurra Inlet and the central basin, with Diastylis anderssoni armata (1.5 ± 1.1 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 85.7%) and Diastylopsis goekei (1.1 ± 1.0 ind./0.1m 2 ; F = 71.4%) as the most frequent and abundant species. V. inermis is considered a eurytopic species with high frequency in the whole material, and was present in all four distinguished assemblages. E. splendida and D. goekei were also recorded in each of the assemblages, but their total frequency was lower.
Admiralty Bay (King George Island) is an Antarctic Specially Managed Area and one the most thoroughly studied small-scale marine basins in the Southern Ocean. Our study provides new data on the isopod fauna in this glacially affected fjord. Twelve species of isopods were recorded in this basin for the first time. Six of them were found for the first time in the region of the South Shetland Islands. The highest number of species new for Admiralty Bay were found in the families Munnopsidae (4 species) and Munnidae (3 species).
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.