The lakes and watercourses are habitats for various communities of cyanobacteria and algae, which are among the few primary producers in Antarctica. The amount of nutrients in the mineral-poor Antarctic environment is a limiting factor for the growth of freshwater autotrophs in most cases. In this study, the main aim was to assess the availability of mineral nitrogen for microorganisms in cyanobacterial mats in James Ross Island. The nitrate and ammonium ions in water environment were determined as well as the contents of major elements (C, N, P, S, Na, K, Ca, Mg, Al, Fe, Mn) in cyanobacterial mats. The molar ratios of C:N, C:P and N:P in mats were in focus. The growth of freshwater autotrophs seems not to be limited by the level of nitrogen, according to the content of available mineral nitrogen in water and the biogeochemical stoichiometry of C:N:P. The source of nutrients in the Ulu Peninsula is not obvious. The nitrogen fixation could enhance the nitrogen content in mats, which was observed in some samples containing the Nostoc sp.
Remains referred to Phorusrhacidae from the Cretaceous and Paleogene of the Antarctic Peninsula, and mainly known through informal and succinct descriptions, are reassigned here to other bird lineages recorded in the Antarctic continent. New records of ratites, pelagornithid birds, and penguins are added to the Upper Eocene avifauna of Seymour Island. Moreover, the original allocation for an alleged cursorial seriema−like bird from the Maastrichtian of Vega Island is refuted, and its affinities with foot−propelled diving birds are indicated. The indeterminate Pelagornithidae specimen represents the largest pseudo−toothed bird known so far. It is concluded that there is no empirical evidence for the presence of terror birds in Antarctica.
Many Antarctic marine benthic invertebrates are adapted to specific environ− mental conditions (e.g. low stable temperatures, high salinity and oxygen content). Changes caused by global climatic shifts can be expected to have significant impact on their physiol− ogy and distribution. Odontaster validus, an ubiquitous, omnivorous sea star is one of the “keystone species” in the Antarctic benthic communities. Laboratory experiments were car− ried out to study the effect of temperature rise (from 0 to 5#2;C) on some vital biological func− tions that sea stars must perform in order to survive in their environment. Parameters such as behavioural reaction of sea stars to food and food odour, locomotory performance and abil− ity to right were measured. Temperature increase significantly impaired the ability of O. validus to perform these functions (e.g. lowering the number of sea stars able to right, in− creasing time−to−right, reducing locomotory activity, weakening chemosensory reaction to food and food odour). At temperatures of 4 and 5#2;C a loss of motor coordination was ob− served, although at all tested temperatures up to 5#2;C there were single individuals perform− ing successfully.
The method of construction and division of dendrites proposed by Florek et al. (1951) was used for defining of the Antarctic biojjeographic areas. The affinity matrices of Knox and Lowry (1977) resulting from the analysis of the distribution of Antarctic Polychaeta and Amphipoda were taken as a basis for dendrite construction The results of the present analysis are compared with the conclusions of these authors and similarities and differences are discussed on the background of the hitherto published biogeographic divisions of Antarctica.
Macrozooplankton was collected at 63 stations by means of a Bongo sampler in the layer from the surface to a depth of 200 m. Wet formalin volume of siphonophors, polychaetes, pteropods, copepods, amphipods, euphausiids, chaetognaths, salps, and the remaining animals was determined; the distribution of major species was presented. Low diversity in macrozooplankton composition was observed in the study area. As far as biomass was concerned, salps predominated in the whole area; they occurred in exceptionally large quantities Large amounts of krill were also observed in some areas. Besides salps and krill, other euphausiids had the greatest share in the zooplankton; they were more abundant than copepods. Macrozooplankton biomass without salps and krill was low when compared with the values known from literature.
Adamussium jonkersi sp. nov. is described from the Late Oligocene Destruction Bay Formation, Wrona Buttress area, King George Island (South Shetlands), West Antarctica. The unit, characterized by volcanic sandstone, is a shallow marine succession deposited in a moderate- to high-energy environment. The thin-shelled pectinids, collected from the lower part of the unit, are preserved mostly as complete valves. Shell thickness, sculpture pattern and umbonal angle suggest a free-living, inactive swimming life habit.
Lichens of relict penguin colonies and sites affected by active penguin colonies were investigated in Victoria Land, Ross Sea sector, continental Antarctica. A total of 17 coastal sites, seven in northern and ten in southern Victoria Land, have been investigated across 7 ° of latitude from 71 ° to 78 ° S. Altogether 40 taxa of lichens have been identified. Four of the recorded species are new to the Antarctic – Caloplaca erecta , C. soropelta , C. tominii and Physcia tenella ; two species are new to the Victoria Land area – Lecania nylanderiana and Lecanora polytropa . The first lichen records from Beaufort Island are also provided. Data presented here expand the knowledge on the occurrence, diversity and distribution of Victoria Land lichens.
The tarsometatarsus, a compound bone from the lower leg in birds, is the most important skeletal element in fossil penguin taxonomy, especially in the case of early members of this group. However, any attempt to go beyond the problem of mere classification obviously requires the better understanding of osteological traits under consideration. This in turn touches on the issue of interplay between bone and concomitant soft−tissue structures, such as muscles, tendons and vessels. This paper focuses on the more holistic comprehension of the tarsometatarsal section of the Eocene penguin foot, based on the analysis of the myology and the vascular system of its modern counterparts. A number of graphical reconstructions are provided with a discussion of the role of the hypotarsus and inter− metatarsal foramina.
Henryk Arctowski Station, the research station of the Polish Academy of Science in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, West Antarctica, is one of the most heavily visited bases in Antarctica. Between the seasons 1991/92 and 1996/97, 12884 tourists were recorded. A specially designed tourist trail was marked to divert visitors toward alternative attractions, not only the station buildings. Tourist management goals include: environmental protection, minimising waste and pollution, respecting the rules relating to protected areas, and prohibition of collections and souveniring.
The paper provides information on oceanobiological expeditions to the Antarctic organized by Polish Academy of Sciences. The scope of research of five expeditions is described and main achievements of Polish Antarctic studies are summarized.
In the plankton samples collected with a Bongo net besides Euphausia superba the following species of the Euphausiacea were found:. £. frigida, crystallorophias, E. triacantha and T. macrura. The most aboundant and most frequently caught species was T. macrura equally distributed throughout the research area. The species E. frigida also occurred regularly though in much smaller numbers. E. triacantha occurred sporadically, mainly in the western part of the research region, and E. crystallorophias only at two stations in the Bransfield Strait. Some aspects of the biology and ecology of the mentioned above species are presented in this study.
Using a thin layer chromatography the content and composition of krill lipids was examined in different sex and maturity stages. The content of lipids decreased in the following sequence: immature males — females with eggs — juvenile specimens — spent females — mature males. In females the differences concerned mainly phospholipids and waxes, in males — triacylglicerols; this fact proves the different utilisation of lipids for reproduction in both sexes.
A composition of lipids of some Antarctic Crustacea (Euphausia superba. E. triacantha. Thysanoessa macrura and Mysidacea gen. sp. indet.) caught in the Admiralty Bay (South Shetlands) was compared. Lipids of E. superba differed in low content of waxes that evidences for different management of lipids than in other examined Crustacea.
A short review of the history of the hepaticological exploration of Antarctica is given in the present paper. An annotated check list of all taxa of hepatics reported from within the Antarctic botanical zone, based on literature data and unpublished records, is included. Altogether 22 species of liverworts, excluding two taxa known only at generic level, representing 18 genera and 13 families, are known to occur in the Antarctic. All species of hepatics, except for Cephaloziella varians which is also known from Greater Antarctica, occur exclusively in the maritime Antarctic region. In the livewort flora of Antarctica, the southern temperate and subantarctic elements are predominant (72.7%) and the bipolar element is remarkably scarce, albeit the bipolar taxa belong to the most widespread and frequent of the impoverished Antarctic hepatic flora. Distribution patterns of all known Antarctic liverworts are briefly discussed and several floristic elements and subelements are recognized.
J. G. A. Forster, member of J. Cook's expedition towards South Pole, spent the majority of his life in Poland. In the years 1784—1787 he was professor of natural history at the Wilno University. Born near Gdańsk, he never lost the consciousness of his Polish citizenship. Forster's publications have enriched the culture and science of England. France, Germany, Poland and other countries.
On the basis of acoustically registered cross-sections of krill aggregations, regular, irregular and layer forms were distinguished. Regular forms are most frequently observed during spring and in the day time, while irregular forms are most frequent during summer and night hours. The density histograms made for two hour intervals clearly show the day-night difference, but the seasonal (spring, summer) difference is less pronounced. Mean density of swarm is lowest during the night and reaches a maximum in early morning hours. The mean volume backscattering strength values (Sv) for spring and summer are nearly identical. We suggest that regular forms correspond to foraging swarms and irregular forms to feeding swarms as described by Hamner (1984).
24 species of 8 fish families were found to occur on the shelf of Elephant Island during austral spring and summer of 1986/87 season. Notothenia gibberifrons was a predominant species (78—83% per catch). The presence of Champsocephalus gunnari and Chaenocephalus aceratus (15—20% per catch) almost completed fish composition profile. A pronounced decrease of Notothenia rossi (0.03—0.04% per catch) was noticed. Some specimens of Champsocephalus gunnari were characterized by a spawning-time shifted by almost half a year comparing to the remaining part of its population.
The attempt was made to describe the dynamics of water masses in the southern part of the Drake Passage and the Bransfield Strait in the time period from December 1983 to January 1984. The dynamic topography at the surface (referred to 500 dbar surface) allowed to define the eastward flow of water in the Bransfield Strait and to observe, in the same region, the presence of a rather weak counter-current of the Weddell Sea origin. In the Drake Passage, a general north-eastern direction of water flow of the Bellingshausen Sea was found. In the Bransfield Strait, as well as in the Drake Passage, the relative velocities of geostrophic flow were low: 0.22 and 0.06 m s-1 respectively. The analysis of Rossby and eddy numbers and Rossby radius made it possible to regionalize the dynamic phenomena but could not be fully used for their classification.
The material discussed in this paper was collected in the Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait (Antarctica) within the framework of the BIOMASS-SIBEX programme. Samples were collected by hauling Nansen nets verticaly through the 100 — 0, 300—100 and 500 — 300 m layers in December 1983 and January 1984. Of the six species recorded — Metaconchoecia isocheira, Alacia hettacra, Alacia belgicae, Metaconchoecia skogsbergi, Boroecia antipoda and Discoconchoecia off. elegans — the first three, endemic to Antarctic waters — were predominant (92.9%). Ostracoda were found most abundantly in the eastern part of the study area — between Elephant Island and South Orkney Islands, and in the south-western part of Bransfield Strait. Their vertical distribution depended on the hydrological conditions. Ostracoda were most numerous in the 500—300 m and 300 — 100 m layers; very few were recorded in the 100—0 m surface layer.
Freedom of research is one of the fundamental principles upon which the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) was founded. Its scope is defined by the limitations imposed by relevant legal rules. They provide among other for prohibition of scientific investigation of military character and declare that no activities — including research — shall constitute a basis for territorial claims in Antarctica. Of particular importance are limitation;' imposed on freedom of research for the benefit of environmental protection. But, contrary to some views, most scholars consider that the freedom of research and the protection of the environment and ecosystems in Antarctica are equally important principles central to the whole ATS. They are inter-dependent and neither one should be attributed priority over the other. In the best interest of science, Antarctic research needs to be controlled to the necessary minimum of environmental impact and risk.
The paper presents an overview of lithostratigraphy and radiochronological and biochronological data for the Tertiary volcanic and sedimentary successions of King George Island, South Shetland Islands (West Antarctica). Special stress was laid on dating fossiliferous terrestrial and marine strata and glacial and glacio-marine deposits of Tertiary age. for which King George Island offers the most complete and so-far best documented standard in the Antarctic Peninsula sector of West Antarctica.
Three tectonic units occur in folded stratified volcanic sequence on Barton Peninsula. Fossil flora (Del Valle et al. 1984) occurs in the basal part of the upper unit which age is not younger than Paleocene. The rocks of the middle and lower units are older, possibly Mesozoie.
In 1979 54 water samples were collected at two oceanographic stations located in Admiralty Bay. Ranges of seasonal changes were found for the values of ten parameters: water temperature, salinity, dissolved О, pH, the contents of PO4 , Si, NO2, NO3, chlorophyll α and plant carotenoids at six depths between surface and 400 m. Data for temperature and salinity showed the absence of distinct thermoclines or haloelines which reflects the very low stability of waters in the Bay. The concentrations of nutrients were high during the entire year and they were not limiting for phytoplankton growth. Only nitrates decreased distinctly during algal blooms. The high dynamics of waters in the Bay causes a lowering in the chlorophyll α content to a maximum of about 2 mg/m3. Oceanographic, hydrochemical and hydrological conditions in Admiralty Bay are typical for the Antarctic shelf waters in this geographical region.
In 1977 and 1980 rich materials of necrophagous invertebrates were collected in the Admiralty Bay of King George Island. The collecting was carried out in 9 stations differing with respect to their habitat conditions. The stations were established at depths ranging from 5 to 90 m. In baited traps placed in the stations 295074 specimens of various animals belonging to almost 100 taxa were caught. It was found that 23 species out of the above mentioned taxa were necrophagous, and 10 further species were suspected of necrophagy. On the basis of their specific composition and domination structure the summer and winter assemblages of necrophagous invertebrates were described and compared with each other. An analysis of spatial and seasonal changes in the structure and abundance of these assemblages was carried out. and the habitat preferences of particular species as well as a list of species displaying permanent or seasonal necrophagy were determinted. Three forms of the competitive community of necrophagous invertebrates were distinguished.
The amount and composition of lipids m some Antarctic animals were studied. The material consisted of crustaceans (Euphausia superba, Paramoera sp., Orchomene sp.), tunicates (Salpa thompsoni) and vertebrates (Notothenia rossi marmorata and Hydrurga leptonyx). The author's data are discussed on the background of available literature information.