The article provides a general overview of environmental protection and conservation practice in the Antarctic Treaty area, with special reference to the stipulations of the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection and its Annexes.
Isolated and fragmented jaws, a single basioccipitale and vertebrae of the Gadiformes, indeterminate family and genus, are described from Eocene sediments of the La Meseta Formation, Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Based on the dentition and other characters of both jaws they are assigned an informal name of „Mesetaichthys". The remaining isolated bones belong probably to the same form.
The Trinity Peninsula Group (Permo-Triassic?) at Hope Bay, northern Antarctic Peninsula, is represented by the Hope Bay Formation, more than 1200 m thick. It is subdivided into three members: the Hut Cove Member (HBF,), more than 500 m thick (base unknown), is a generally unfossiliferous marine turbidite unit formed under anaerobic to dysaerobic conditions, with trace fossils only in its upper part; the Seal Point Member (HBF2), 170—200 m thick, is a marine turbidite unit formed under dysaerobic conditions, with trace fossils and allochthonous plant detritus; the Scar Hills Member (HBF3), more than 550 m thick (top unknown), is a predominantly sandstone unit rich in plant detritus, probably formed under deltaic conditions. The supply of clastic material was from northeastern sources. The Hope Bay Formation was folded prior to Middle Jurassic terrestrial plant-bearing beds (Mount Flora Formation), from which it is separated by angular unconformity. Acidic porphyritic dykes and sills cut through the Hope Bay Formation. They were probably feeders for terrestrial volcanics of the Kenney Glacier Formation (Lower Cretaceous) which unconformably covers the Mount Flora Formation. Andean-type diorite and gabbro plutons and dykes (Cretaceous) intrude the Hope Bay Formation, causing thermal alteration of its deposits in a zone up to several hundred metres thick. All the above units are displaced by two system of faults, an older longitudinal, and a younger transversal, of late Cretaceous or Tertiary age.
An additional account on the Oligocene cyclostome Bryozoa has been made from the glaciomarine sediments of the Low Head Member (= Pecten conglomerate of Barton 1965) of the Polonez Cove Formation on King George Island (South Shetland Island, West Antarctica). The following genera have been recognized for the first time in Paleogene of Antarctica: Crista, Bicrisia, Exidmonea, Filisparsa and Mecynoecia. Paleoecological interpretation of the bryozoan assemblage implies that the fauna lived in shallow water at a depth of around 50 m.
Solitary corals of the genus Flabellum are described from the Lower Oligocene glaciomarine strata of the Polonez Cove Formation of King George Island, West Antarctica. This is the oldest record of the genus from Antarctica.
In the years 1987-1989, within the frames of the international program "Greenland Sea Project", the Institute of Oceanology of Polish Academy of Sciences carried out the oceanographic investigations in the energoactive zones of the Northern Atlantic. The paper presents some results of these investigations, characterizing interannual variability of aero- and hydrophysical fields and the causal connections between hydrological and hydrobiological anomalies. Main results of these investigations indicate that the summer season of 1988 was an anomaly in the region of confluence of Barents and Norwegian Seas. This result is irrefutably confirmed by biological data concerning species, and hydrophysical data, such as light attenuation coefficient, fluorescence, spatial distributions of water temperature, salinity, density and current velocity, as well as mass and heat fluxes. It arises from these information that the southern border of the confluence zone was normally the heat „source", while in 1988 it was the heat „sink". The results obtained indicate two reasons responsible for such a situation. The first is the anticyclonic eddy structure of cold Barents Sea waters, penetrating the confluence zone. The second reason seems to be a mechanism blocking the transport of Atlantic water masses through the transect between Faeroe and Shetland Islands.
Changes taking place in weathered bedrock and vegetation of the ground moraine of Werenskiold glacier during about 50 years are presented. These results are based on phytosociological survey and analysis of the population structure of Saxifraga oppositifolia in 20 experimental fields and the analysis of physical and chemical features of the soils. In the process of succession, with chemical features not much changed and spongy structure just beginning, the number of vascular plants did not increase. In the process of succession the gradual increase in the density of S. oppositifolia population was observed. The size of its individuals and the share of flowering individuals also increased.
Quantitative data on meiobenthos distribution in four biotopes of the intertidal zone are presented. Differences in taxonomic composition and meiofauna abundance are influenced by the morphology of beaches and their sediment structure.
The list of 29 gastropod species and 33 species of bivalves occurring in Hornsund Fiord as well as their zoogeographic status are presented. The occurrence and role of Mollusca in particular parts of the fiord are discussed.
Parasitic isopods (Aega antarclica and Gnathia calva) were discovered on fishes collected during Polish expeditions to the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Pranizae of G.calva infected 14.5% of Nololhenia corriceps neglecta and 16% of Notothenia rossi marmorata. The infestation rates are probably underestimated.
In material collected from birds (Aves, Procellariiformes) in the South Georgia region by Polish Antarctic Marine Research Expedition in 1976 the following mallophagan species were found: Docophoroides brevis (Duf.), Naubates fuliginosus (Tasch.), Pseudonirmus gurlti (Tasch.) and Trabeculus hexacon (Wat.). These are the first records from this region.
Anthracite coal matter fills irregular voids in dolostones of the Upper Proterozoic Höferpynten Formation in the Hornsund area, south Spitsbergen. The coals are of organic origin, as indicated by a variety of coal-petrographic studies, and by association with algal structures. They probably derived from bitumina accumulated in voids of dolostone at an early diagenelic stage. The degree of coalification (graphitization) is high but diversified, suggesting several coalification stages, probably related t o successive metamorphic events. The oldest changes may correspond to initial stage of t h e greenschist-amphibolite phase of regional metamorphism, with temperatures of over 500°C and pressure of over 20,000 MPa . Multiphase graphite crystallites which occur in t h e coal are mainly fibrous. There are also crystallites which precipitated from gaseous phase, and pyrolitic graphite; they may have originated due to action of mesothermal solutions which had produced ore-bearing veins.
Mapping and analysis of air photos enabled preparation of a photogeological map of the Hansbreen-Sofiekammen region in a scale of 1 : 10,000. Glacial, slope and marine landforms and sediments were distinguished. Supplied with thermoluminescence and radiocarbon data, a morphogenetic evolution of the area could be presented. Four Pleistocene and Holocene glacier advances were distinguished. Seven raised marine beaches result from the Pleistocene and the Holocene uplift of the land.
Average duration of a thermal winter in Hornsund has been determined for 216 days. Average soil temperature at depth of 5 cm in winter is equal —9.8°C. During a spring that lasts 35 days only, soil temperatures at depth of 5 cm indicate distribution nearest to a normal one. Soil temperature distribution in winter substantially differs from the one in spring.
Spatial differentiation of temperature and relative humidity of air on western coast of Spitsbergen in 1979—1983 is presented. Applying the author's classification of types of atmospheric circulation in the studied area, its influence on distribution of these elements is shown. Air temperature in the area is related more to the degree of climate continentality than to its latitude. The lowest mean 5—year temperatures were calculated for stations with highest degrees of thermic continentality (Svea Gruber and Svalbard Lufthavn). The highest thermic differentiation occurs from November to March (1 —4°C) and the lowest in May—June and August—October (0.0— 1.5°C). It is opposite if relative humidity is concerned: the highest differences occur in summer (10—15%) and the lowest in winter (0—9%). Influence of atmospheric circulation on air temperature is larger during a polar night than a polar day. Again, it is opposite in the case of relative humidity. In both analyzed seasons the highest thermic differentiation occurred at the circulation type Ca. However, it was the lowest during a polar night at advection of air from northern and southern sectors, and during a polar day at advection from a northern sector and at the type Cc.
104 algal taxa (31 blue-green algae, 48 diatoms and 25 green algae) were identified from 18 stands of tundra soils in the Kaffiöyra Plain (Oscar II Land, NW Spitsbergen). Basing on numerical analysis by the reciprocal averaging method and on hierarchic classification based on ."distinguishing species", two groups of stands were distinguished: moist and wet ones characterized by diatoms, and dry and drying ones characterized by blue-green algae.
Ice constitutes physically, but not legally, a separate element of polar regions, alongside with land, water and air. Lack of clear legal regulations in this respect compells the practitioners to apply often inadequate analogies. The specific status of polar permanent and floating ice calls for urgent and comprehensive legal regulation under general international law, the law of the sea and the law of polar regions, on the ground of the principle of Arctic sectors in the Northern Hemisphere and the Antarctic Treaty System in the Southern Hemisphere, with reference to the relatively rich legal doctrine, discussed in detail below.