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Abstract

Studies were performed in the summer of 1989 in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station at Hornsund, Svalbard, in an attempt to characterize the functioning of selected tundra soils in terms of bioenergetics. The intensity of bioenergetical processes in the soil was evaluated by the rates of O2 consumption and CO2 production, measured in the laboratory under controlled hydrothermic conditions. Soils metabolic processes are markedly correlated with soil water content and dependent upon soil structure, water capacity and character of plant cover. The strongest correlation was observed in the more aerated soils with small water capacity and without vegetation. The respiratory quotient (RQ) decreased with the growth of soil moisture content. Soil metabolic activity began directly after the summer melting of the ground, when the soil temperature reached 0°C, and ceased in autumn, when temperatures fell below 0°C again.
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Abstract

Physical and chemical properties (granulometric composition, pH, carbonates, organic carbon, nitrogen etc.) as well as bioenergetic activity of Spitsbergen tundra soils were studied at three chosen stations situated near Polish polar station "Hornsund". It was found that biological activity of Arctic tundra soils depended mainly on its physical properties, whereas the chemical composition of organic matter did not effect directly the bioenergetics of these soils. This bioenergetic activity depends mainly on the richness of micro- and mesofauna communities inhabiting the soil.
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Abstract

Professor Lech Wojtczak spent his entire scientific life at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS, where he worked since 1947. He is the author or co-author of two hundred scientific papers, promoted 15 doctors of science, was the Full Member of PAS and has been awarded with several prizes and honors. Among his students are three successive directors of the Nencki Institute, the authors of the present article. Scientific interests of Professor Lech Wojtczak were always dealing with bioenergectics, a discipline that he led in Poland and Eastern-Central Europe. In particular, his studies focused on the role of fatty acids and their derivatives on bioenergetics, on the regulatory role of surface potential of biomembranes on enzymatic and transport activities, on the regulatory role of calcium and magnesium in mitochondria, on the role of free oxigen radicals in bioenergetics, etc. Apart from being a great scientist, Lech Wojtczak was also a fantastic teacher, and an excellent scientific supervisor. Being well recognized in the world, he was placing members of his research group in foreignlaboratories, as well as was sending tchem to courses and conferences. This was opening their minds to the world, and to other cultures, and allowed Lech Wojtczak to form from his collaborators the next generation of good scientists and future leaders. The list of the most important pupils of Professor Wojtczak is given in the article. Lech was also excellent in social contacts, and in creating a friendly atmosphere. Together with his wife Anna, they kept an open home, often inviting collaborators to parties that usually led to long scientific discussions. With the sudden death of Pofessor Lech Wojtczak Polish science suffered a great loss. This eminent researcher, the father of Polish bioenergetics, but also a warm and modest person, will be dearly missed.
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