Skeletal remains of penguins from the Eocene La Meseta Formation (Seymour Island, Antarctica) constitute the only extensive fossil record of Antarctic Sphenisciformes. No articulated skeletons are known, and almost all fossils occur as single isolated elements. Most of the named species are based on tarsometatarsi (for which the taxonomy was revised in 2002). Here, 694 bones (from the Polish collection) other than tarsometatarsi are reviewed, and allocated to species. They confirm previous conclusions and suggest that ten species grouped in six genera are a minimal reliable estimate of the Eocene Antarctic penguin diversity. The species are: Anthropornis grandis, A. nordenskjoeldi, Archaeospheniscus wimani, Delphinornis arctowskii, D. gracilis, D. larseni, Marambiornis exilis, Mesetaornis polaris, Palaeeudyptes gunnari and P. klekowskii. Moreover, diagnoses of four genera (Anthropornis, Archaeospheniscus, Delphinornis and Palaeeudyptes) and two species (P. gunnari and P. klekowskii) are supplemented with additional, non-tarsometatarsal features. Four species of the smallest penguins from the La Meseta Formation (D. arctowskii, D. gracilis, M. exilis and M. polaris) seem to be the youngest taxa within the studied assemblage - their remains come exclusively from the uppermost unit of the formation. All ten recognized species may have co-existed in the Antarctic Peninsula region during the Late Eocene epoch.
The mathematical model that described the relationship between cell-count decay and storage time in fixed bacterioplankton samples from three Antarctic lakes of differing trophic status was determined after a one-year experiment. Bacterial density was estimated by epifluorescence microscopy. Cell count data fitted a negative exponential model in all three cases (p < 0.00001). However, the slopes of their curves were significantly different (p < 0.01), as well as the percentage of bacterial loss after a period of two months. This fact might be related to the limnological characteristics of the water bodies, though the individual genetic variability of their bacterioplankton should not be left aside. Original bacterial numbers in the samples could also be a reason of the differences observed in the pattern of decay in cell counts. Thus, applying a general decay function to any sample and assuming the idea that freshwater bacterioplankton samples can be stored for a two month-period before the bacterial counts decay, can lead to an erroneous estimation of bacterial numbers with direct consequences in ecological investigations.
This paper includes a check-list of Recent Svalbard marine ostracods based on published sources and on diploma theses as well as some new studies. This is the first study of this group of crustaceans from Hornsund. A total of 41 species belonging to 12 families were collected at 55 sampling stations from dredged sediments. Seven species are reported for the first time from the Svalbard Archipelago. Polycope orbicularis Sars is the most abundant species in the present fauna. Species compositions of Hornsund and the Liefdefjorden are seen to have the highest similarity (S = 50.6).
The fusulinid foraminifers of Schellwienia arctica (Schellwien, 1908) have been investigated from Polakkfjellet Mt., south Spitsbergen, and used as biostratigraphic marker for the latest Carboniferous earliest Permian strata of the Treskelodden Formation. A series of thin sections enable to investigate the internal structure and growth pattern of individual specimens. The observed variation of growth suggests dynamic environmental conditions at the investigated location and most likely over one-year long life span of this foraminifer.
Soils in the Chamberlindalen area (Bellsund, Spitsbergen ) have been formed under polar climatic conditions, influenced by many years of permafrost, and chemical and physical weathering. The type of bedrock and local water conditions are considered to be significant soil-forming factors. The following soil units were distinguished according to the FAO-UNESCO Revised Legend (1997): Gelic Leptosols, Gelic Regosols, Gelic Gleysols, and Gelic Cambisols. The basic properties of the soils studied are (i) shallow soil profile with poorly differentiated genetic horizons, (ii) the particle size distribution of sands and loams, (iii) a considerable content of the silt fraction, (iv) different pH, and a considerable organic carbon content.
There are two important unconformities in the Calypsostranda Group (late Palaeogene) at Bellsund, Spitsbergen. The first one is the basal angular unconformity of the Skilvika Formation against folded and planated Proterozoic metasediments: the author provides evidence for its primary sedimentary character. The second one is an intraformational erosional disconformity/discontinuity expressed by rapid replacement of coal-bearing terrestrial strata (Skilvika Formation) by shallow-marine strata (Renarddodden Formation).
The paper describes climatic conditions of the north-western part of Oscar II Land (Spitsbergen) based on meteorological data from 1975 to 2000, which were taken from Ny Ĺlesund and Kaffiöyra-Heggodden stations. The changes in annual courses of main climatic elements are investigated. However, the authors focused mainly on the analysis of summer climate, because most of the field work is conducted at this time of the year. Aside from the standard climatic analysis, the influence of atmospheric circulation on selected meteorological elements was also investigated. The climate of the north-western part of Oscar II Land was compared with the climates of the remaining areas of the western coast of Spitsbergen . It was found that the climate of the studied area differs considerably from the climate of the central-inner and southern parts of the western coast of Spitsbergen (areas represented by the Svalbard Lufthavn and Hornsund stations respectively). The differences in climatic elements, however, are not stable throughout the year and in particular seasons and months can even change signs. Thus, any generalisation of results obtained based on seasonal data is inadmissible. It was also found that the wind conditions of the Kaffiöyra region are more representative of the north-western part of Oscar II Land than are the wind conditions of the Ny Ĺlesund region.
Trace fossils Lockeia siliquaria James, Ophiomorpha nodosa Lundgren, Parataenidium seymourensis isp. n., Protovirgularia rugosa (Miller and Dyer) and Rhizocorallium jenense Zenker have been described for the first time from the Eocene La Meseta Formation of Seymour (Marambio) Island, Antarctic Peninsula . Determinations of some trace fossils formerly described from this formation have been revised. The whole trace fossils association from the La Meseta Formation points to foreshore-offshore environment as indicated by presence of the Skolithos and Cruziana ichnofacies, and to at least temporal normal salinity.
This study describes the seasonal and annual changes in the diet of non-breeding male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) through the analysis of faeces collected on shore during four summer seasons (1993/94-1996/97) in the area of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands). Krill was the most frequent prey, found in 88.3% of the 473 samples. Fish was present in 84.7% of the samples, cephalopods and penguins in 12.5% each. Of the 3832 isolated otoliths, 3737 were identified as belonging to 17 fish species. The most numerous species were: Gymnoscopelus nicholsi, Electrona antarctica , Chionodraco rastrospinosus, Pleuragramma antarcticum, and Notolepis coatsi. In January, almost exclusively, were taken pelagic Myctophidae constituting up to 90% of the total consumed fish biomass. However, in February and March, the number of bentho-pelagic Channichthyidae and Nototheniidae as well as pelagic Paralepididae increased significantly, up to 45% of the biomass. In April the biomass of Myctophidae increased again. The frequency of squid and penguin occurrence was similar and low, but considering the greater individual body mass of penguins, their role as a food item may be much greater. In March and April, penguins could be as important prey item as fish. The amount of krill in the diet of Antarctic fur seals declined with a concomitant decrease in the mature krill availability. This appears to have been compensated by an increased frequency of the fur seal to eat fish and penguins.
A sediment core (LS-1) collected from Long Lake in King George Island, South Shetland Islands (West Antarctica) was analyzed for a variety of textural, geochemical, isotopic and paleontological properties together with 14C age dates. These data combined with published records of other studies provide a detailed history of local/regional postglacial paleoproductivity variation with respect to terrestrial paleoclimate change. The lithologic contrast of a lower diamicton and an upper fine-grained sediment demonstrates glacial recession and subsequent lake formation. The upper fine-grained deposit, intercalated by mid-Holocene tephra-fallout followed by a tephra gravity flow, was formed in a lacustrine environment. Low total organic carbon (TOC) and biogenic silica (Sibio) contents with high C/N ratios characterize the diamicton, whereas an increase of TOC and Sibio contents characterize the postglacial lacustrine fine-grained sediments, which are dated at c. 4000 yrBP. More notable are the distinct TOC maxima, which may imply enhanced primary productivity during warm periods. Changes in Sibio content and δ13C values, which support the increasing paleoproductivity, are in sympathy with these organic matter variations. The uniform and low TOC contents that are decoupled by Sibio contents are attributed to the tephra gravity flows during the evolution of the lake rather than a reduced paleoproductivity. A very recent TOC maximum is also characterized by high Sibio content and δ13C values, clearly indicating increased paleoproductivity consequent upon gradual warming across King George Island . Comparable with changes in sediment geochemistry, the occurrence and abundance of several diatom species corroborate the paleoproductivity variations together with the lithologic development. However, the paleoclimatic signature in local terrestrial lake environment during the postglacial period (for example the Long Lake) seems to be less distinct, as compared to the marine environment.
The paper presents the results of taxonomical work concerning the lichen genus Cladonia Hill ex P. Browne from the Arctic island Spitsbergen (Svalbard). The work is based on studies of herbarium material collected during several Polish expeditions (deposited in Polish herbaria) and on the field work carried out by the author in 2002. The materials originate from the west coast of the island. Specimens were studied using methods of classical taxonomy supported by chemical analysis of the lichen substances. Twenty-seven taxa have been recognized in the materials examined. The description (morphological characters and chemistry), ecology and distribution of particular taxa are presented. An updated key for identification of taxa is included. Habitus photos of the species are submitted.
The ablation of glaciers is an important factor in energy exchange between the atmosphere and land ice masses. The dynamics of ablation closely reflects climate changes and is important for the estimation of the outflow of meltwater, which, having penetrated a glacier to bedrock, stimulates its velocity by increasing basal sliding. More detailed studies using automatic weather stations (AWS) and the calculation of the energy budget are rarely conducted on small glaciers. The mass balance of the Hans Glacier has been monitored since 1989. Its intensified monitoring using AWS began in 2003. The results show that ablation depends more evidently on the daily mean and maximum air temperature and wind speed than on total and net radiation. Ablation, both that controlled by sonic height ranger and that measured manually on stakes, was compared with the values calculated on the basis of energy flux formulas applied by Oerlemans (2000). The statistical results allowed us to construct empirical equations, which in turn enabled us to compute the course and total ablation during the summer seasons. It can be described on the basis of two primary meteorological elements (air temperature and wind speed), as recorded in the station representing the regional area (Hornsund) or measured in situ on the glacier. Standard measurements of ablation from the years 1989-2004 were used to verify empirical model. The computed mean value of summer ablation for 1989-2004 was calculated at 1.35 m , differing from real measurements by only 10% (with SD = 0.18). The results obtained illustrate that an empirical equation can be applied in time series analyses. A regional ablation model enables us to investigate the mass-balance history of glaciers on the basis of meteorological data.
The food and foraging strategy of fifteen species of seabirds and sea mammals from two high Arctic fjords were analysed. One of the fjords, Kongsfjord, is strongly influenced by warm waters from the Atlantic , while Hornsund is of a more Arctic character. Prey species in the Atlantic waters were more diverse (82 species and 16 functional groups) compared to those of Arctic waters (67 prey species and 14 functional groups). The consumption of top predators from Hornsund in the peak season of July was estimated at 2.86*106 MJ, while that in Kongsfjord was 1.35*106 MJ. For the analysed function of the ecosystem (the transfer of energy to the top trophic levels) the specific character of prey species is of key importance and not the diversity, abundance or biomass per se. Lower species diversity and biomass in Arctic waters is compensated for by the occurrence of larger individuals of these species, which permits top predators to prey directly on lower trophic levels.
Penguin bones from the La Meseta Formation (Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula) are the only record of Eocene Antarctic Sphenisciformes. Being an abundant component of the youngest unit of the formation (Telm7), they are not so common in earlier strata. Here, I present the oldest penguin remains from the La Meseta Formation (Telm1-Telm2), often bearing close resemblance to their counterparts from younger units. Addressing the recent findings in fossil penguin systematics, I suggest there is too weak a basis for erecting new Eocene Antarctic taxa based on non-tarsometatarsal elements of penguin skeletons, and considering Oligocene species part of the studied assemblage. Finally, I conclude if the common ancestor of extant Sphenisciformes lived in the Eocene Antarctic (as suggested recently), penguins referred to Delphinornis seem to be prime candidates to that position.
Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness in humans. This study describes the isolation of Campylobacter lari from seabirds during 4 consecutive summers (2000-2003) in Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. One hundred and twenty-two spontaneously dead Antarctic seabirds were studied. Ten Campylobacter lari isolates from 7 skuas (Stercorarius spp.), 2 kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus), and 1 Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) were identified by phenotypical characteristics. Human activity in Antarctica was identified as a possible source of infectious agents, and migratory birds could be carriers of infectious diseases. However, nothing is known about zoonotic enteropathogens causing diseases in humans living in the Antarctic region. We demonstrated that seabirds carried C. lari in their intestines, and that they were settled around the lakes where humans are supplied with fresh water. Consumption of fresh water from Antarctic lakes contaminated with feces of seabirds could be a risk of human campylobacteriosis. This is the first report of C. lari isolated from seabirds in Hope Bay, Antarctica.
We describe the spatial variability of snow accumulation on three selected glaciers in Spitsbergen (Hansbreen, Werenskioldbreen and Aavatsmarkbreen) in the winter seasons of 1988/89, 1998/99 and 2001/2002 respectively. The distribution of snow cover is determined by the interrelationships between the direction of the glacier axes and the dominant easterly winds. The snow distribution is regular on the glaciers located E-W, but is more complicated on the glaciers located meridionally. The western part of glaciers is more predisposed to the snow accumulation than the eastern. This is due to snowdrift intensity. Statistical relationships between snow accumulation, deviation of accumulation from the mean values and accumulation variability related to topographic parameters such as: altitude, slope inclination, aspect, slope curvature and distance from the edge of the glacier have been determined. The only significant relations occured between snow accumulation and altitude (r = 0.64-0.91).
Using High Performance Liquid Chromatography, concentrations of uric acid in the surface waters of two non-glaciated catchments (Fugle and Dynamisk) on Spitsbergen were measured. Measurements of specific conductivity enabled us to perform tests on the dissolution of the carbonate rocks present in both catchments in both natural and aqueous solutions of uric acid. Samples of calcium urate were made and its water solubility determined. Given a knowledge of concentrations of uric acid, calcium ions and calcium urate solubility product, an estimate of the role of uric acid in the dissolution of carbonate rocks was possible. Uric acid increases the dissolution of carbonate rocks by c. 12.5% in case of the Fugle catchment and 7% in Dynamisk.
This paper presents the spatial distribution of changes in the value of the predicted insulation index of clothing (Iclp) in the Norwegian Arctic for the period 1971-2000. For this study, data from six meteorological stations were used: Ny-Alesund, Svalbard Airport, Hornsund, Hopen, Bjřrnřya and Jan Mayen. The impact on the atmospheric circulation to the course of the Iclp index was analyzed using the catalogue of circulation types by Niedźwiedź (1993, 2002), the circulation index according to Murray and Lewis (1966) modified by Niedźwiedź (2001), the North Atlantic Oscillation Index according to Luterbacher et al. (1999, 2002), and the Arctic Oscillation Index (Thompson and Wallace 1998).