Lacydonia (Polychaeta: Phyllodocida) is a poorly known genus containing 16 species that are sporadically collected in low densities all over the world oceans. During three cruises (in June 2014 in Ullsfjorden, northern Norway, in January 2015 in Kongsfjorden, and in June 2012 in Smeerenburg, Svalbard) nine specimens of Lacydonia eliasoni were found on sandy and muddy sediments at depths from 180 to 350 m. All specimens were incomplete and consisted of 10 to 29 chaetigers. This study presents the first record of the Lacydonia genus in the waters of Svalbard as well as the first record of L. eliasoni in coastal waters off northern Norway. This species has been reported previously in the Skagerrak and Trondheimsfjorden (southern Norway), our findings therefore may indicate a northward extension of its range, possibly due to climate changes.
Scavenging fauna was sampled by means of baited traps in three different habitats of Kongsfjorden (Svalbard, Arctic). Lysianassoid amphipods, represented by nine species, made up 98.9% of the materials collected between 5 and 30 m. The dominant species were Anonyx sarsi and Onisimus caricus, which constituted 91.6% of collected individuals. The abundance of animals attracted to traps was variable and a gradual decrease in abundance with increasing depth was observed. Spatial segregation of species resulted from a number of factors ranging from depth, hydrological conditions, sedimentation regime and bottom type to food accessibility. Gut contents analysis indicated that in summer Onisimus caricus relied on zooplankton sinking due to the osmotic shock in the glacial bay; Onisimus edwardsi had a diverse diet; and Orchomenella minuta fed mostly on small crustaceans. During laboratory experiments all species were observed feeding on dead or injured zooplankton, while preying on live planktonie organisms was never noted.
The eight most abundant species (mean density >20 ind. m −2 ), which occurred at high frequencies (mean >30%) were selected from grab samples in the three Svalbard fjords: Hornsund, van Mijenfjord, and Kongsfjord, in the summer seasons between 1997 and 2007. Six polychaete and two bivalve species comprised more than 47% of the individuals and the biomass in all the samples examined. Four species are cosmopolitan, while the others are widely distributed Arctic−boreal species, and none has Arctic origin. Their density, frequency of occurrence, and biology are very similar across the wide geographical range from boreal to Arctic conditions. As the diversity of benthic fauna in the fjords studied increases (from 172 to 238 species), the dominance of the eight species in the soft bottom community diminishes from 76% to 47%. In times of hydrological regime shift, i.e. , the warming of the European Arctic, it is unlikely that the abundancy of these species in the soft bottom fjordic ecosystems will change. The most common soft bottom species are not good indicators of environmental change in the Arctic, and rare, specialized species are better option for indicative purposes.
Life cycles,number of eggs per female,minimal adult female length and reproductive costs are presented for 18 species of Amphipoda from the West Spitsbergen area, 77 79 °N. Fifteen species incubated eggs during the polar night and released their offspring in early April. Three species incubated eggs from late spring till late summer. The appearance of the youngest juveniles, indicating the hatching period, is presented for 63 species. Most of the species studied were K strategists, with large eggs of over 1 mm diameter; only one species (Hyperoche medusarum ) was r strategist.
Hornsund, an Arctic fjord in the west coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard), was selected as All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) site under EU 5th Framework Concerted Action BIOMARE (2000–2002), especially due to its pristine, undisturbed natural character. On the base of large material (89 stations located throughout the fjord and 129 Van Veen grab samples) collected during cruises of RV Oceania in July in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and literature search a comprehensive list of species recorded within Hornsund area, on the soft bottom with depth range of 30–250 m is provided. Over 220 species were identified including 93 species of Polychaeta, 62 species of Mollusca and 58 species of Crustacea. Species list is supported by information on the zoogeographical status, body length and biological traits of dominant species. Need for further research on Hornsund soft bottom fauna with more sampling effort is highlighted.
The shallow water benthic fauna was collected in Kongsfjord, West Spitsbergen. Sampling was conducted along two main environmental gradients: vertical gradient (depth 5–50 m) and horizontal gradient (sedimentation regime) along the fjord axis. A small rectangular dredge was used. Altogether 169 taxa were identified and four macrofaunal associations were distinguished. Bottom type and distance from the tidal glaciers seem to be the main factors responsible for species distribution. The Soft Bottom I Association occupying the fine mud of the Kongsbreen glacial bay consisted mostly of Crustacea with high dominance of scavenging amphipod Onisimus caricus. Bivalves prevailed in the Soft Bottom II Association, located further away from the main glacier outflows. The barren rocky shelf, deprived of vegetation by a sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis was inhabited by the Rocky Shelf Association dominated by decapods. The last distinguished association (the Kelp Association) occurred on the hard bottom overgrown with macroalgae. The gastropod Margarites helicinus and amphipods Ischyrocerus spp. made up 60% of the individuals collected there.
Soft bottom fauna have been sampled along the Spitsbergen fjord depression entering shelf, slope and Greenland Sea Ocean Basin at 200, 300, 500, 1500, 2000 and 3000 m depths. From 19 samples covering 1.9 m2, 4295 individuals of 194 macrofauna species have been sorted. Density decreased markedly from over 6000 ind/m2 in shelf stations to some 600 ind/m2 below 1500 m depth. Only two taxa (Chaetozone group and Lumbrineris sp. A) occurred in more than 75% of samples, 55 taxa (28% of the total) were represented by single specimens only. The highest number of species per sample (65 taxa in 0.1 m2) was noted at 525 depth. There were 14 eurybathic species and the same number of taxa were found exclusively below 2000 m depth, while 117 species were found only shallower than 300 m depth.