After several years of research, the foraminiferal fauna of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) has become themost studied fiord in West Antarctica with respect to foraminifera. As such, it provides actualistic data for better understanding of paleoenvironmental records from this dynamically changing area. Over a few years, the bay was systematically sampled down to 520 m water depth, for multi−chambered and mono− thalamous benthic foraminifera, including soft−walled allogromiids often overlooked in for− mer studies. Altogether, 138 taxa were identified, and three new taxa described. This paper aims to integrate these results, put them into a broader perspective, and supplement them with information that was not presented to date. Most notably, a record of the vertical distribution of Rose Bengal stained foraminifera below the sediment surface and the proportions of soft and robustly−testate forms at different sites are described.
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.
Between 1979 and 2007, various sampling projects from the Polish Arctowski Research Station in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica, collected a diverse assemblage of pycnogonids, inter alia . Examination of this material has revealed 24 species in 11 genera and six families: all of this material is described. Samples were from poorly− sorted fine−sand to coarse−silt substrata, at depths between 27 and 405 m. The diverse assemblage was of species consistent with the known pycnogonid fauna of these depths in the South Shetlands and the Palmer Archipelago region, and includes a number of species re− corded for only the second time since the types. As typical for Antarctic waters, the predominant and most diverse genus was Nymphon (nine species); the prevalent species was Nymphon eltaninae , not Nymphon australe : implications for the apparent wide−distribution of records of the latter species are discussed. These records increase the biogeographical range of Nymphon subtile and Nymphon punctum from Subantarctic waters to the Scotia Sea
During thirty three expeditions to the Polish Arctowski Antarctic Station signifi− cant influences of human activity upon the environment have been recorded. Introductions of alien species, shifts of bird and seal breeding areas and decreases in both bird and seal populations, are the most obvious effects of human pressure. Though numbers of visits by tourists have increased during this period, impacts from expeditioners appear to be the main cause of changes. In particular, increasing numbers and mobility of summer groups at the station are the likely most influential factors.
The order Passeriformes is the most successful group of birds on Earth, however, its representatives are rare visitors beyond the Polar Front zone. Here we report a photo−documented record of an Austral Negrito ( Lessonia rufa ), first known occurrence of this species in the South Shetland Islands and only the second such an observation in the Antarctic region. This record was made at Lions Rump, King George Island, part of the Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 151 (ASPA 151). There is no direct evidence of how the individual arrived at Lions Rump, but ship assistance cannot be excluded.
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).
A new thambematid species, Thambema thunderstruckae sp. n., is described from King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic. Specimens of the new species were collected during two Polish Antarctic Expeditions in 1985 and 2007. It is the first record of this family from the Southern Hemisphere. The new species most closely resembles Thambema golanachum Harrison, 1987 and T. fiatum Harrison, 1987 but can be distinguished from both species by the shape of male pleopod 1, the number of claws on pereopods 2–7 and the setation of pereopod 1 and 2 carpus, respectively. A key to all known genera and species in the family Thambematidae is also provided.
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.
Diatom assemblages from small pools and creeks on the Ecology Glacier forefield have been investigated. It is the first study in the Admiralty Bay region after the thorough taxonomic revision of the non-marine Antarctic diatom flora. A total of 122 diatom taxa, belonging to 35 genera were identified. More than 55% of all observed species have a restricted Antarctic distribution. Another 15% have a marine origin. Nitzschia gracilis Hantzsch, N. homburgiensis Lange-Bertalot and Planothidium rostrolanceolatum Van de Vijver et al. dominated the flora. Based on a DCA analysis, samples were subdivided in three groups reflecting ecological differences. Several samples (group 1) showed a mixed freshwater/marine diatom composition and are typical for coastal pools. Two other groups were separated based on the amount of limnoterrestrial taxa indicating the temporary character of some of the pools.
Several bacteria that are associated with macroalgae can use phycocolloids as a carbon source. Strain INACH002, isolated from decomposing Porphyra (Rhodophyta), in King George Island, Antarctica, was screened and characterized for the ability to produce agarase and alginate-lyase enzymatic activities. Our strain INACH002 was identified as a member of the genus Flavobacterium, closely related to Flavobacterium faecale, using 16S rRNA gene analysis. The INACH002 strain was characterized as psychrotrophic due to its optimal temperature (17°C) and maximum temperature (20°C) of growth. Agarase and alginate-lyase displayed enzymatic activities within a range of 10°C to 50°C, with differences in the optimal temperature to hydrolyze agar (50°C), agarose (50°C) and alginate (30°C) during the first 30 min of activity. Strain Flavobacterium INACH002 is a promising Antarctic biotechnological resource; however, further research is required to illustrate the structural and functional bases of the enzymatic performance observed during the degradation of different substrates at different temperatures.
This review covers aspects of soil science and soil biology of Antarctica with special focus on King George Island, South Shetlands, the martitime Antarctic. New approaches in soil descriptions and soil taxonomy show a great variety of soil types, related to different parent material, mainly volcanic origin, as well as on influences by soil biological processes. The spread of higher rooting plants attract microorga nisms, nematodes and collemboles which in turn build new organic material and change the environment for further successors. Microbial communities are drivers with respect to metabolic and physiological properties indicating a great potential in a changing environment. The literature review also shows a lack of investigations on processes of carbon and nitrogen turnover, despite wide knowledge on its standing stock in different environments. Further , only few reports were found on the processes of humification. Only few data are available which can be regarded as long term monitorings, hence, such projects need to be established in order to follow ecological changes.
Trace fossils Phymatoderma melvillensis isp. nov., Thalassinoides isp., ?Nereites isp. and Planolites isp. are reported from the glacio−marine sediments of the Cape Melville Formation (Lower Miocene) of King George Island, West Antarctica. Their occurrence and strong bioturbation of sediments point to an offshore or deeper (outer shelf or upper slope) en− vironment. Deep marine crab Antarctidromia inflata Förster, 1985, has been found in Thalassinoides isp. The tracemaker (?crustacean) of Phymatodermamelvillensis re−reworked pelletal sediments probably during times of food deficiency.
New evidence of Eocene preglacial environments has been found on the southern coast of Ezcurra Inlet on King George Island, South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica. Plant remains (trunks, leaves, detritus) and carbonaceous seams and beds occur in sedimentary strata in a 4 km long Cytadela outcrop of the Point Thomas Formation. They are an evidence for the presence and diversity of terrestrial vegetation in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. The forests were composed mostly of Podocarpaceae– Araucaria – Nothofagus , with an undergrowth of hygrophilous and thermophilous ferns, and grew on volcanic slopes and surrounding lowland areas of King George Island during breaks in volcanic activity. The succession that crops out at Cytadela provides a record of changing climatic conditions from a warm and wet climate with extensive vegetation to a much drier climate with limited vegetation and ubiquitous weathering of volcanic bedrock. The geochemical indices of weathering (CIA, PIA and CIW) have narrow and relatively high value ranges (76–88), suggesting moderate to high chemical weathering under warm and humid climate conditions. The decrease in humidity and the decline in plant life through the succession can be related to the gradually cooling climate preceding development of the Oligocene ice cover across the Antarctic continent.
Pyrite framboids occur in loose blocks of plant−bearing clastic rocks related to volcano−sedimentary succession of the Mount Wawel Formation (Eocene) in the Dragon and Wanda glaciers area at Admiralty Bay, King George Island, West Antarctica. They were investigated by means of optical and scanning electron microscopy, energy−dispersive spectroscopy, X−ray diffraction, and isotopic analysis of pyritic sulphur. The results suggest that the pyrite formed as a result of production of hydrogen sulphide by sulphate reducing bacteria in near surface sedimentary environments. Strongly negative #2;34SVCDT values of pyrite (−30 – −25 ‰) support its bacterial origin. Perfect shapes of framboids resulted from their growth in the open pore space of clastic sediments. The abundance of framboids at cer− tain sedimentary levels and the lack or negligible content of euhedral pyrite suggest pulses of high supersaturation with respect to iron monosulphides. The dominance of framboids of small sizes (8–16 μm) and their homogeneous distribution at these levels point to recurrent development of a laterally continuous anoxic sulphidic zone below the sediment surface. Sedimentary environments of the Mount Wawel Formation developed on islands of the young magmatic arc in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. They embraced stagnant and flowing water masses and swamps located in valleys, depressions, and coastal areas that were covered by dense vegetation. Extensive deposition and diagenesis of plant detritus in these environments promoted anoxic conditions in the sediments, and a supply of marine and/or volcanogenic sulphate enabled its bacterial reduction, precipitation of iron mono− sulphides, and their transformation to pyrite framboids.
Radiometric and geochemical studies were carried out at Red Hill in the southern part of King George Island (South Shetland Islands, northern Antarctic Peninsula) on the Bransfield Strait coast. The rock succession at Red Hill has been determined to represent the Baranowski Glacier Group that was previously assigned a Late Cretaceous age. Two formations were distinguished within this succession: the lower Llano Point Formation and the upper Zamek Formation. These formations have stratotypes defined further to the north on the western coast of Admiralty Bay. On Red Hill the Llano Point Formation consists of terrestrial lavas and pyroclastic breccia; the Zamek Formation consist predominantly of fine to coarse tuff, pyroclastic breccia, lavas, tuffaceous mud− , silt−, and sandstone, locally conglomeratic. The lower part of the Zamek Formation contains plant detritus (Nothofagus , dicotyledonous, thermophilous ferns) and numerous coal seams (vitrinitic composition) that confirm the abundance of vegetation on stratovolcanic slopes and surrounding lowlands at that time. Selected basic to intermediate igneous rocks from the succession have been analysed for the whole−rock K−Ar age determination. The obtained results indicate that the Red Hill succession was formed in two stages: (1) from about 51–50 Ma; and (2) 46–42 Ma, i.e. during the Early to Middle Eocene. This, in combination with other data obtained from other Baranowski Glacier Group exposures on western coast of Admiralty Bay, confirms the recently defined position of the volcano−clastic succession in the stratigraphic scheme of King George Island. The new stratigraphic position and lithofacies development of the Red Hill succession strongly suggest its correlation with other Eocene formations containing fossil plants and coal seams that commonly occur on King George Island.