Bryozoans were collected in Kongsfjorden (79°N and 12°E) in the summer seasons of 1997, 1998, and 1999. In the total of 44 grab, dredge, and SCUBA diving samples 143 taxa were determined: 123 species, 17 to the generic and 3 to the family level. In the investigated material were 24% Arctic species and 66% boreal-Arctic species. This suggests a rather Arctic nature of the fjord. A few boreal species indicate the influence of warm water masses (West Spitsbergen Current). The majority of species (76%) have an encrusting life form. There were 5 species with a frequency of occurrence higher than 20%. These are Electra crustulenta var. arctica (31.82%); Cylindroporella tubulosa (27.27%); Tegella arctica (22.73%); Tegella armifera (20.45%); and Hippothoa divaricata var. arctica (20.45%). Among all identified species 23 were recorded for the first time in the area of Svalbard archipelago. Most (79%) of newly noted species have Arctic distributions. The lower sampling effort of previous researchers most likely accounts for the present enrichment of the list of Bryozoa of Kongsfjorden.
The species diversity of the Bryozoa in Kongsfjorden was determined based on quantitative, depth-stratified (0-30 m) samples collected by SCUBA divers (1996, 1998). One hundred and one species and 16 varieties of the three orders Cyclostomata, Ctenostomata and Cheilostomata - are reported from Kongsfjorden. Ten species are presumably new. The bryozoan fauna of Svalbard is mainly represented by Arctic and boreal-Arctic species and varieties. The few amphiboreal and subtropical-boreal species found most likely reach their northern limit of distribution near Spitsbergen. The distribution of the Bryozoa within Kongsfjorden was determined by depth and location sampled. The number of taxa increased, generally, with depth and distance from tidal glaciers located in the inner fjord. Relative decreases in species number occurred at 15-20 m depth in the middle to outer fjord. This is most likely explained by a change of water mass properties, i.e. a transition from the surface water layer to deeper marine water.
The identification of macroalgal beds is a crucial component for the description of fjord ecosystems. Direct, biological sampling is still the most popular investigation technique but acoustic methods are becoming increasingly recognized as a very efficient tool for the assessment of benthic communities. In 2007 we carried out the first acoustic survey of the littoral areas in Kongsfjorden. A 2.68 km2 area comprised within a 12.40 km2 euphotic zone was mapped along the fjord's coast using single- and multi-beam echosounders. The singlebeam echosounder (SBES) proved to be a very efficient and reliable tool for macroalgae detection in Arctic conditions. The multibeam echosounder (MBES) was very useful in extending the SBES survey range, even though it's ability in discriminating benthic communities was limited. The final result of our investigation is a map of the macroalgae distribution around the fjord, showing 39% macroalgae coverage (1.09 km2) of investigated area between isobaths -0.70 m and -30 m. Zonation analysis showed that most of the studied macroalgae areas occur up to 15 m depth (93%). These results were confirmed by biological sampling and observation in key areas. The potential of acoustic imaging of macrophytes, and a proposed methodology for the processing of acoustic data, are presented in this paper along with preliminary studies on the acoustic reflectivity of macroalgae, also highlighting differences among species. These results can be applied to future monitoring of the evolution of kelp beds in different areas of the Arctic, and in the rest of the world.
Zooplankton was investigated at fixed site in 24 hours in Kongsfjorden, a glacial fjord situated on the west coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) (79°N, 12°E), in order to unveil the level of diurnal variability in community composition and abundance. Parallel to zooplankton study water temperature and salinity were measured while information on local tides and winds was obtained from external sources. Observed changes did not exceed the range of variability regarded intrinsic, resulting from the nature of plankton. Because of this low variability we are of the opinion that the data presented can be regarded a valid measure of the natural heterogeneity of zooplankton communities in hydrologically dynamic Arctic coastal waters in summer. The observed changes in zooplankton were primarily induced by the complex dynamics of the fjord’s water masses. In spite of importance of tidal forcing, the variability in zooplankton did not demonstrate similar temporal fluctuations due to modification of the water movement by other irregular forces (local wind). Also, we have not found any indication of diel vertical migration in coastal water in the Arctic under the condition of midnight sun.
Zooplankton community composition, abundance and biomass from two polar localities – Kongsfjorden (Arctic) and Admiralty Bay (Antarctic) is compared. The community composition of zooplankton in both polar regions included similar taxonomic groups and the diversity at the species level was similar. Even though the overall species composition was different, some species were common for both ecosystems, for example Oithona similis, Microcalanus pygmaeus or Eukrohnia hamata. The abundance and biomass of the main zooplankton components (Copepoda) differed greatly between the two ecosystems, both being of an order of magnitude higher in Kongsfjorden than in Admiralty Bay. Kongsfjorden is situated at the border of two regions what induces high productivity with copepods playing an important role, and there is also a strong advection into the fjord. Admiralty Bay is adjacent to the homogenous Antarctic oceanic ecosystem; some advection into the bay occurs as an effect of tide and wind driven processes. Antarctic krill, which was not included in the present study, occupies most of the primary consumers niche and replaces copepods at the second trophic level.