Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research

Content

Polish Polar Research | 2016 | vol. 37 | No 4 |

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Abstract

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.
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Authors and Affiliations

Pavel Coufalík
Daniel Nývlt
Petra Prochazková
Ondřej Zvěřina
Kateřina Trnková
Kateřina Skácelová
Josef Komárek
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Abstract

Textural properties and microstructures are commonly used properties in the analysis of Pleistocene and older glacial deposits. However, contemporary glacial deposits are seldom studied, particularly in the context of post-depositional changes. This paper presents the results of a micromorphological study of recently deposited tills in the marginal zones of Hansbreen and Torellbreen, glaciers in southwestern Spitsbergen. The main objectives of this study were to compare modern tills deposited in subglacial and supraglacial conditions, as well as tills that were freshly released from ice with those laid down several decades ago. The investigated tills are primarily composed of large clasts of metamorphic rocks and represent coarse-grained, matrix-supported diamictons. The tills reveal several characteristic features for ductile (e.g. turbate structures) and brittle (e.g. lineations, microshears) deformations, which have been considered to be indicative of subglacial conditions. In supraglacial tills, the same structures are common as in the subglacial deposits, which points to the preservation of the primary features, though the sediment was transferred up to the glacier surface due to basal ice layer deformation and redeposited as slumps, or to formation of similar structures due to short-distance sediment re-deposition by mass flows. This study revealed that it might not be possible to distinguish subglacial and supraglacial tills on the basis of micromorphology if the latter are derived from a subglacial position. The only noted difference was the presence of iron oxide cementation zones and carbonate dissolution features in supraglacial tills. These features were found in tills that were deposited at least a few years ago and are interpreted to be induced by early post-depositional processes involving porewater/sediment interactions.
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Authors and Affiliations

Katarzyna Skolasińska
Grzegorz Rachlewicz
Witold Szczuciński
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Abstract

Thirty-two species of echinoderms from epibenthic sledges, dredges, scuba diving, and other samples (in total: 467 samples and c. 20 000 specimens) from fjords and coastal waters off Spitsbergen were analysed between 1996 and 2014. The most numerous group of echinoderms in the coastal waters off Spitsbergen is brittle stars (78% of the total individuals). The echinoderms do not form any clear assemblages according to depth or distance from glacial sedimentation and substrate. Some species prefer hard bottom (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) or water free from glacial suspensions (Ophiopholis aculeata). In contrast to the species listed above, we also found opportunistic species such as the starfish Urasterias lincki and the brittle star Ophiocten sericeum. These two species are distributed quite uniformly, regardless of the environmental factors. The majority of the species prefer a soft bottom below 200 m.
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Authors and Affiliations

Kajetan Deja
Jan Marcin Węsławski
Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk
Tomasz Borszcz
Piotr Kukliński
Piotr Bałazy
Patrycja Kwiatkowska
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Abstract

This study presents the results of dendrochronological and dendroclimatological research of Betula pubescens from four sites in northern Norway (Kvaløya Island, Tromsøya Island and Storelva Valley), which provided a 193-year chronology. Our results highlight the importance of the site selection in dendroclimatological studies. We demonstrated that activity of geomorphic processes connected with local topography could led to reduced strength of climatic signal embedded in tree-ring data. Negative pointer years, triggered mainly by unfavourable climatic conditions and insect outbreaks, were common for all site chronologies in 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975, 1986, 2004. However, some site-specific differences were also distinguished. Response function analysis confirmed that June, July and August temperatures were positively correlated with tree-ring widths. This climate-growth relationship was stable throughout the years 1925-2000. From summer temperature reconstruction back to AD 1820, two colder (c. 1835-1850 and 1890-1920) and two warmer (c. 1825-1835 and 1920-1940) periods were identified. The tree-ring record from the Tromsø Region, well correlated between series, sites and climate variables, is an important element of a large-scale reconstruction of pre-instrumental climate variation in the northeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Our dendroclimatic reconstruction corresponds well with other climate proxy data, like fluctuations of mountain glaciers in Scandinavia or sea ice extent.
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Authors and Affiliations

Krzysztof Migała
Magdalena Opała
Piotr Owczarek
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Abstract

The rapidly changing Arctic provides excellent opportunities for investigating primary succession on freshly deglaciated areas. Research on the Gåsbreen foreland (S Spitsbergen) traced the succession of particular groups of organisms and species, particularly lichens and bryophytes, and determined the effect of selected abiotic factors on this succession. Fieldwork in 2008, employed a continuous linear transect of phytosociological relevés (1 m2) along the foreland. Data analysis allowed to distinguish five different succession stages and three types of colonisers. Canonical correspondence analysis and a permutation test showed that distance from the front of the glacier and fine grain material in the substrate mostly influenced the distribution and abundance of vegetation, and the steepness of the moraine hills affected the colonisation process, mainly in the older part of the marginal zone.
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Authors and Affiliations

Michał Węgrzyn
Maja Lisowska
Paulina Wietrzyk

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