Soils, having a well-developed sequence of A and Bw horizons, are widespread on the uplifted marine terrace 8- 12 m a.s.l. in the proximity of Nottinghambukta Bay . The present-day origin of these soils is however questionable, while similarly developed soils, but buried under the cover of the youngest till were found on a forefield of the Werenskiold Glacier. To quantify an intensity of the soil-forming process under present climate conditions of SW Spitsbergen , the chronosequence of soils developed from the Recent, up to 70 year-old moraines, was studied on the forefield of Werenskiold Glacier. Significant dissolution of CaCO3, decrease of pH, leaching of calcium and magnesium, increase of amorphous iron content, as well as an accumulation of organic matter and initial formation of aggregate soil structure were observed within the surface layer of recent till. The 70 year-long period of pedogenesis was, however, too short for a distinct morphological differentiation of the subsurface B horizon. It is concluded, that deep and structural Bw horizons of some surface and buried soils are relicts of a much longer period of relatively warm climate before the last transgression of glaciers.
104 specimens of notothenioid fishes of five species (Patagonotothen longipes, P. tessellata, Champsocephalus esox, Cottoperca trigloides and Patagonotothen brevicauda) caught at two sites in the Beagle Channel (Magellanic sub-region, sub-Antarctica) were examined for the presence of thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala). Representatives of three fish species, Patagonotothen longipes, P. tessellata, and Champsocephalus esox, were infected. Fishes caught at the eastern mouth of the channel were infected with 180 echinorhynchids representing three species, Aspersentis johni (the most numerous species), Heterosentis heteracanthus, and Hypoechinorhynchus magellanicus, and only 12 cystacanths of four polymorphids, Andracantha baylisi, Corynosoma sp., Corynosoma beaglense, and Corynosoma evae. Patagonotothen longipes was the most highly infected in the eastern mouth of the channel (prevalence 85%, maximum intensity 26). Aspersentis johni was the dominant parasite species in this host (prevalence 85%, mean abundance 4.00, maximum intensity 18) and H. heteracanthus was the sub-dominant one (prevalence 50%, mean abundance 2.60, maximum intensity 25). The infections of C. esox were the most diverse (six parasite species - three echinorhynchids and three polymorphids). Fish caught near the city of Ushuaia were infected only with six cystacanths of C. evae (intensity one). Taking into account the whole sample, C. evae was the most abundant polymorphid, represented by 10 of 18 specimens found. Three species, H. heteracanthus, A. baylisi and C. evae, have been previously reported from the low western Antarctic (H. heteracanthus also from the Kerguelen sub-region of sub-Antarctic), remaining four species seem to be endemics of the Magellanic sub-region of sub-Antarctic.
The organodetritic, sandy limestones of the Treskelodden Formation (Late Gzhelian to Early Artinskian) investigated in outcrops at Treskelen Peninsula, Hyrnefjellet mount and Polakkfjellet mount of south Spitsbergen, contain rich foraminiferal assemblages. Fifty eight foraminiferal species of twenty three genera, including two new species (Hemigordius hyrnefjelleti sp. nov. and Midiella arctica sp. nov.) have been identified. Three foraminiferal zones have been defined, with ages of Late Asselian (Pseudofusulinella occidentalis), Sakmarian (Midiella ovata – Calcitornella heathi) and Early Artinskian (Hemigordius hyrnefjelleti – Midiella arctica). Sedimentary features and the biotic history of the studied succession records a Late Paleozoic cooling trend that stays in accordance with Pangaea’s shift to the north.
The organic carbon (OC)-rich, black shale succession of the Middle Triassic Bravaisberget Formation in Spitsbergen contains scattered dolomite-ankerite cement in coarser-grained beds and intervals. This cement shows growth-related compositional trend from non-ferroan dolomite (0–5 mol % FeCO3) through ferroan dolomite (5–10 mol % FeCO3) to ankerite (10–20 mol % FeCO3, up to 1.7 mol % MnCO3) that is manifested by zoned nature of composite carbonate crystals. The d13C (-7.3‰ to -1.8‰ VPDB) and d18O (-9.4‰ to -6.0‰ VPDB) values are typical for burial cements originated from mixed inorganic and organic carbonate sources. The dolomite-ankerite cement formed over a range of diagenetic and burial environments, from early post-sulphidic to early catagenic. It reflects evolution of intraformational, compaction-derived marine fluids that was affected by dissolution of biogenic carbonate, clay mineral and iron oxide transformations, and thermal decomposition of organic carbon (decarboxylation of organic acids, kerogen breakdown). These processes operated during Late Triassic and post-Triassic burial history over a temperature range from approx. 40°C to more than 100°C, and contributed to the final stage of cementation of the primary pore space of siltstone and sandstone beds and intervals in the OC-rich succession.
Although the Antarctic has avoided the worst effects of alien species, its future seems endangered due to increasing natural and man-made pressures. Rapid changes in three major environmental variables have occurred in the Antarctic region during the last decades. In the short term terrestrial biota are likely to benefit from reduced environmental stresses, but in the long run the colonization of the region by lower latitude species with greater competitive ability will become increasingly important and can lead to large-scale changes in biological composition and trophic complexity in some existing Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, the recent dynamic climate changes combined with human activities in the Antarctic region might modify the status of several alien species which have hitherto been considered transient or persistent and could, therefore, become naturalized and threaten the native communities on a larger scale than today, or influence the status of naturalized species.
Solar radiation reflectance was analysed to characterize Arctic ornithogenic tundra developing in the vicinity of large breeding colony of Brunnich‘s guillemots Uria lomvia and kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla at the foot of Gnĺlberget cliff (Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen). Radiometric method was found to be a useful tool for studying structure and functioning of plant formations. We measured reflectance of four wavelengths: 554 nm (YG), 655 nm (RED), 870 nm (NIR) and 1650 nm (SWIR) at 10 plots situated along the transect running from the colony to the sea. Moreover, data of plant community character, species quantitative composition as well as total biomass were collected to relate these parameters with the spectral values. The results showed that radiometric data characterized vegetation well enough to recognize the same plant communities on the basis of spectral reflectance as distinguished with traditional phytosociological methods.
Brachiopods from the Chlamys Ledge Member, uppermost part of the Polonez Cove Formation (Oligocene), of King George Island, West Antarctica are represented by the undeterminable Rhynchonellida, one short-looped terebratulide Liothyrella Thomson, and two long-looped terebratellidines: Rhizothyris Thomson and Terebratelloidea gen. et sp. indet. Liothyrella is a well known genus in the Cenozoic strata and Recent waters of the Southern Hemisphere, while Rhizothyris is noted for the second time in the Antarctic region. This is the first record of brachiopods from the Chlamys Ledge Member.
Formerly reported as maritime Antarctic Bacidia sp. A has been re-named here as B. chrysocolla Olech, Czarnota et Llop. Another new species, B. subcoprodes Olech et Czarnota, found in the continental and maritime Antarctic has also been described here. A placement of both taxa within Bacidia De Not. is probably tentative because they are not congeneric with the type of this genus, B. rosella (Pers.) De Not. Similarities to other Bacidia with Laurocerasi-brown hypothecium and mostly 3-septate ascospores are discussed.
The Blue Dyke and Jardine Peak are subvertical hypabyssal intrusions cutting a stratiform volcanic sequence in the Admiralty Bay area on King George Island (South Shetlands, Antarctica ). The rocks are porphyritic, crystal-rich basaltic andesites. Tiny zircon crystals were used for single grain SHRIMP U-Pb dating. The mean ages calculated for the zircon populations from both intrusions indicates Late Oligocene (Chattian) formations. Zircon grains from the Blue Dyke gave the mean age of 27.9±0.3 Ma, whereas those from the Jardine Peak are slightly younger displaying the mean age of 25.4 ± 0.4 Ma: a Late Oligocene (Chattian) crystallization age the inferred of both these intrusions. These are much younger than previous Eocene K-Ar and Ar-Ar ages for such rocks and suggest that formation of the King George Island intrusions can be related to tectonic processes that accompanied the opening of the Drake Passage.
Penguins (Aves: Sphenisciformes) hold much interest for many people, including (but not limited to) scientists. According to results of molecular studies, penguin history began in the Cretaceous, but the oldest bones assigned to these birds are Paleocene in age. The first fossil representative of Sphenisciformes formally described was Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, and this event took place 150 years ago. Since that time, several dozens of species have been erected, though not all of them have stood a test of time. The 21st century entered new dynamics into the paleontology of penguins, and (importantly) it concerned both the new material, and new theories. This paper summarizes what we currently know about extinct penguins and indirectly suggests the most promising areas for further research.
A large sample of more than 1500 individuals of scavenging Amphipoda from fur seal carcass was studied. Six species have been identified. The two most abundant species, Abyssorchomene plebs and Waldeckia obesa, are sublittoral, necrophagous amphipods that could attack the carcass when submerged in the sea. After stranding on the beach they became an attractive food source for birds eating not only the seal tissues but also the scavenging amphipods. The species composition of the present sample as well as earlier data on Antarctic tern stomach content and baited traps taken in the same area and at the same time agreed quite well. These observations confirm the expectation that Antarctic tern feeds on necrophagous amphipods picked out from carcasses stranding on the sea shore.
Since 1978 the retreat of Ecology Glacier in the vicinity of Henryk Arctowski Station has opened new ice-free areas for colonization by terrestrial organisms initiated by pioneer microbes. Samples were collected from the soil surface, at 0, 5 and 20 cm below surface close to glacier front, then stored at below -20°C . Total bacterial count (TC), estimated by epifluorescence microscopy, reached high values, of 1010 g-1 dry wt. Healthy looking bacterial cells of mean volume 0.0209 µm3 at 0 cm to 0.0292 µm3 at 20 cm made up from 7% at 0 cm , to 30% at 20 cm of total bacterial population. The number of colony forming units (CFU) accounted for only 0.02% of TC. Taxonomically they belonged to the a, b, g subdivisions of the proteobacteria and to the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides (CFB) group. Morphophysiologically CFU bacteria were diverse, from Gram variable short coccal forms to very long rods or filaments. Randomly selected CFU colonies were characterized by low sugar assimilation and high esterase/lipase activity. Spore forming bacteria – absent from 0 and 5 cm , formed a small fraction of 175 cells g-1 dry wt at the 20 cm depth. Filamentous fungi were relatively abundant and represented mainly by oligotrophs.