Polar Biology

http://link.springer.com/journal/300

List of Papers (Total 222)

First report of Laternula elliptica in the Antarctic intertidal zone

Many Antarctic marine invertebrates are considered to be highly stenothermal, subjected to loss of functionality at increased temperatures and so at high risk of mortality in a rapidly warming environment. The bivalve Laternula elliptica is often used as a model taxon to test these theories. Here, we report the first instance L. elliptica from an intertidal site. Genetic analysis...

Large-scale patterns in community structure of benthos and fish in the Barents Sea

Biogeographical patterns have an ecological basis, but few empirical studies possess the necessary scale and resolution relevant for investigation. The Barents Sea shelf provides an ideal study area, as it is a transition area between Atlantic and Arctic regions, and is sampled by a comprehensive survey of all major functional groups. We studied spatial variation in species...

Temperature-dependent metabolism in Antarctic fish: Do habitat temperature conditions affect thermal tolerance ranges?

Climatic warming is most pronounced in the polar regions. For marine ectotherms such as fish, temperature is a key abiotic factor, influencing metabolic processes. Species distribution and abundance are driven by reproduction and growth, which depend on available energy exceeding baseline maintenance costs. These routine metabolic costs make up a large part of the energy...

Morphological and ecological evidence for two sympatric forms of Type B killer whale around the Antarctic Peninsula

Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are apex marine predators in Antarctica, but uncertainty over their taxonomic and ecological diversity constrains evaluations of their trophic interactions. We describe two distinct, sympatric forms sharing the characteristic pigmentation of Type B, the most common around the Antarctic Peninsula. Laser photogrammetry revealed nonoverlapping size...

Freeze–thaw cycles have minimal effect on the mineralisation of low molecular weight, dissolved organic carbon in Arctic soils

Warmer winters in Arctic regions may melt insulating snow cover and subject soils to more freeze–thaw cycles. The effect of freeze–thaw cycles on the microbial use of low molecular weight, dissolved organic carbon (LMW-DOC) is poorly understood. In this study, soils from the Arctic heath tundra, Arctic meadow tundra and a temperate grassland were frozen to −7.5 °C and thawed once...

Low organotin contamination of harbour sediment in Svalbard

Arctic sea routes are opening up for maritime transport due to sea ice retreat leading to increasing human activities in the Arctic and concomitant pressures on the environment. Organotin compounds are used in antifouling paints of large seagoing vessels and are known to leach into the marine environment and accumulate in sediments and biota. As organotin levels in Svalbard...

From the worm’s point of view. I: Environmental settings of benthic ecosystems in Arctic fjord (Hornsund, Spitsbergen)

As a consequence of ongoing climate warming, nearly all tidal glaciers in Arctic are retreating; hence, the seascape of glacial fjords is changing in many aspects. We took the example of Hornsund, the well-studied Svalbard fjord, with over 30 years of almost continuous observations of marine system. Recent data were collected during summer oceanographic surveys between 2001 and...

Changes in the lichen biota of the Lions Rump area, King George Island, Antarctica, over the last 20 years

Climate changes observed in recent years in the maritime Antarctic have affected the tundra vegetation, including plant communities in which lichens are a dominant component. The results of comparative studies (1988 and 1990 vs. 2007 and 2008) on the dynamics of the lichen biota within the Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 151 (King George Island, Antarctica) minimally...

Intra-seasonal variation in zooplankton availability, chick diet and breeding performance of a high Arctic planktivorous seabird

Different phenological responses to climate changes by species representing preys and predators may lead to mismatch between functionally dependent components of an ecosystem, with important effects on its structure and functioning. Here, we investigate within-season variation in zooplankton availability, chick diet composition and breeding performance of a small planktivorous...

Phytophagous mites (Acari: Eriophyoidea) recorded from Svalbard, including the description of a new species

Eriophyoid mites (Eriophyoidea) are minute phytophagous mites with great economic importance and great invasive potential. In spite of their demonstrated impact on ecosystem functions, knowledge of eriophyoid mite fauna in the Arctic is lacking. To date, only eight eriophyoid mite species have been recorded from the entire region north of the Arctic Circle. The Svalbard...

Size and stage composition of age class 0 Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the ice–water interface layer during winter/early spring

The condition and survival of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) strongly depends on sea ice conditions during winter. How krill utilize sea ice depends on several factors such as region and developmental stage. A comprehensive understanding of sea ice habitat use by krill, however, remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to improve the understanding of the krill’s...

Introduction to the special issue on the Life in Antarctica: Boundaries and Gradients in a Changing Environment (XIth SCAR Biology Symposium)

Scientific research in Antarctica has reached maturity in recent decades. The interest in issues related to knowledge about the southern polar regions has increased significantly among researchers from all scientific and technological disciplines. Among the various fields, biology comprises perhaps the highest concentration of related activities and encompasses the most diverse...

The role of summer precipitation and summer temperature in establishment and growth of dwarf shrub Betula nana in northeast Siberian tundra

It is widely believed that deciduous tundra-shrub dominance is increasing in the pan-Arctic region, mainly due to rising temperature. We sampled dwarf birch (Betula nana L.) at a northeastern Siberian tundra site and used dendrochronological methods to explore the relationship between climatic variables and local shrub dominance. We found that establishment of shrub ramets was...

Aspects of reproductive biology of wild-caught polar cod (Boreogadus saida) from Svalbard waters

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is considered a key species in the Arctic marine ecosystems. Yet detailed or even basic knowledge regarding its biology and adaptations, especially during the polar night, is in many cases poor. Data are presently unavailable in Western literature on the gonad development of polar cod and its reproductive biology in wild specimens. Accordingly, gonad...

Characteristics of ammonia oxidation potentials and ammonia oxidizers in mineral soil under Salix polaris–moss vegetation in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

Although nitrification is a unique and important process in the nitrogen cycle with respect to ammonium consumption and nitrate production, limited information on this process is available for high-Arctic soils. We elucidated the ammonia oxidation potentials (AOPs) and characteristics of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) in mineral soils under climax vegetation...

The influence of a seabird colony on abundance and species composition of water bears (Tardigrada) in Hornsund (Spitsbergen, Arctic)

Seabirds in the Arctic are known to link marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They feed in the sea and breed on land, where they deposit enormous amounts of guano. Soil in the vicinity of seabird colonies is much more enriched with nutrients as compared to areas beyond their impact, which positively affects primary and secondary production. Water bears (Tardigrada) are...

First assessment of the rocky intertidal communities of Fildes Bay, King George Island (South Shetland Islands, Antarctica)

Studies on Antarctic intertidal fauna are comparatively scarce compared to those from the sublittoral and the deep sea. In order to contribute to filling this gap in knowledge, during the 2006 BENTART Spanish Antarctic Expedition, we conducted a quantitative and qualitative study on the fauna inhabiting the intertidal rocky platform of Fildes (=Maxwell) Bay, King George Island...

Comparative absorption and tissue distribution of 14C-benzo(a)pyrene and 14C-phenanthrene in the polar cod (Boreogadus saida) following oral administration

The Arctic is an important sink for organic pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) long-range transported from industrial regions. With the retreat of sea ice and increasing anthropogenic activities such as the oil and gas industries, local sources of PAHs are expected to increase both through operational and accidental discharges. There is a need to increase...

Observations of floating anthropogenic litter in the Barents Sea and Fram Strait, Arctic

Although recent reports indicate that anthropogenic waste has made it to the remotest parts of our oceans, there is still only limited information about its spread, especially in polar seas. Here, we present litter densities recorded during ship- and helicopter-based observer surveys in the Barents Sea and Fram Strait (Arctic). Thirty-one items were recorded in total, 23 from...

A first report on coexistence and hybridization of Mytilus trossulus and M. edulis mussels in Greenland

Semi-sessile Mytilus mussels are used as indicators of climate changes, but their geographic distribution is not sufficiently known in the Arctic. The aim of this study was to investigate the taxonomic status and genetic differentiation of Mytilus populations in a Northwest Greenlandic fjord at Maarmorilik, impacted by contaminations from a former mine. In this study, mussels...

Microbial community changes along the Ecology Glacier ablation zone (King George Island, Antarctica)

In recent years, glacial surfaces have received much attention as microbial habitats of diverse photoautotrophic and heterotrophic cells. Supraglacial ecosystems are annually covered and uncovered by snow. The aim of this study is to investigate the microbial community response to changing environmental conditions in a transect following the receding snow line on the surface of...

Widespread intra-specific genetic homogeneity of coastal Antarctic benthic foraminifera

Benthic foraminifera are a major component of the Antarctic biota. Coastal foraminiferal morphospecies are widely distributed in Antarctic waters. The question is whether these morphotypes are genetically identical or, rather, they represent a cohort of cryptic species. Here, we compared genetically nine benthic foraminiferal morphospecies from Admiralty Bay (South Shetlands) and...