The authors describe the scope of Polish studies in the field of biology and ecology carried on during 20 years of activity of Polish Antarctic Station. Principal results are briefly summarized and ample literature is presented.
Alongside the purely scientific nature and the first wintering in Antarctica, another innovative feature of the Belgica expedition was its multinational composition. Two, out of its seven persons strong scientific staff, were Polish - H. Arctowski and A. B. Dobrowolski. The first served as scientific deputy-leader of the expedition, the other as laboratory assistant and meteorologist. Their contribution to the scientific success of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition outlined in the present paper, turned into the starting point of brilliant academic careers in the native country and at international level. Both, Arctowski and Dobrowolski, were acknowledged as symbols of the Polish explorations and scientific investigations in polar regions.
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.
Polish exploration and exploitation of marine resources of Antarctic waters date back to the reconnaissance cruise of the Sea Fisheries Institutes (SFI) r/v Profesor Siedlecki in 1974. Since 1975, a co-operation between the Institute of Ecology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) at Dziekanów Leśny and SFI in Gdynia with participation of the University of Agriculture in Szczecin, Faculty Marine Fisheries and Food Technology (UA) was established. Fishing fleets of the Polish Deep-Sea Fisheries Companies Odra, Dalmor and Gryf, since 1976 were operating in the Atlantic sector of Antarctic waters, south of the convergence.
A. B. Dobrowolski, a member of the Belgian expedition in Belgica to West Antarctica (1897-1899), after his return home became a strong supporter of Polish scientific activity in the Polar countries. His patronage - called by him the "Polar Action", was especially well marked during organization of three Polish expeditions to the Svalbard archipelago: to Bear Island during the 2nd Polar Year, 1932-33 and to Spitsbergen in 1934 and 1938. Apart from his scientific achievements in Antarctica, Dobrowolski was also widely known as an author of popular-scientific books on history of discovery and exploration in the Arctic and the Antarctic.