In this article, Svalbard was presented as place and object of intensive scientific research, carried on under the rule of the 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty, which has transformed the archipelago into a unique political and legal entity, having no counterpart anywhere else in the world. Scientific activities in Svalbard are carried out within an uncommon legal framework, shaped by a body of instruments both of international law and domestic laws of Norway, as well as other countries concerned, while the Spitsbergen Treaty, in despite of its advanced age of 75 years, still remains a workable international instrument, fundamental to the maintenance of law and order within the whole Arctic region. In 1995 two important for Svalbard anniversaries were noted: on 9 February, 75 years of the signing of the Spitsbegren Treaty and on 14 August, 70 years of the Norwegian rule over the archipelago.
The rocks exposed along the western coast of Arctowski Peninsula and on offshore islands, Danco Coast (West Antarctica), represent the following lithostratigraphic units: the Trinity Peninsula Group metasediments (?Permian-Triassic); the Antarctic Peninsula Volcanic Group lavas, agglomerates and tuffs (Lower Cretaceous); the Andean Intrusive Suite, including adamellite, granite, granodiorite, diorite, tonalite and gabbro plutons (mid-Cretaceous), moreover basic and acid hypabyssal dykes (?Upper Cretaceous). The relationships between these rock-units are shown in geological map and sketches of field exposures.
A small collection of discinids from Spitsbergen includes two poorly preserved fragments of ventral valves with an incomplete pedicle disc bearing a narrowly trigonal pedicle tract. This element is similar to the type known in Recent discinids. Its general size, comparatively large, is suggestive of a wide embayment of the larval ventral valve. A new species Discinisca spitsbergensis sp. n. is proposed.
The environments of inlets, coves and lagoons varies widely. Climate warming has lead to retreat of glaciers directly entering the sea. In lagoons this is accompanied by exposure of an uncolonized substratum. Colonization processes in these lagoon appear to describe processes which have previously occurred in bays and fjords of glacial origin in the South Shetlands.
Cumacean crustaceans found in 188 qualitative and quantitative samples of zoobenthos collected in Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands) by successive Polish Antarctic Expeditions in the years 1977 — 1989 were studied. In over 3000 individuals of these crustaceans 12 taxa were recognized. Eudorella splendida clearly dominated the material. Other common species were Campylaspis maculata and Vaunthompsonia inermis. The highest cumacean density amounted to 2618 ind.m-2 . Clear differences were observed between cumacean faunas of small grain sediment (muddy Ezcurra Inlet) and of mixed, coarser sediments (central part of Admiralty Bay with sand, gravel and mud). The dominance of Eudorella splendida was strongly marked in shallow Ezcurra Inlet whereas in deeper central part of Admiralty Bay the cumacean fauna was much more diversifield.
Some 20 samples of bottom sediments of freshwater lakes collected in the Antarctic Thala Hills oasis (Enderby Land) were soaked in laboratory cultures. 85 taxa of algae were identified in these cultures: Cyanophyceae — 54, Chrysophyceae — 1, Xanthophyceae 10 and Chlorophyceae — 20 taxa. Most of these taxa are illustrated.
The material discussed in this paper was collected in the Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait (Antarctica) within the framework of the BIOMASS-SIBEX programme. Samples were collected by hauling Nansen nets verticaly through the 100 — 0, 300—100 and 500 — 300 m layers in December 1983 and January 1984. Of the six species recorded — Metaconchoecia isocheira, Alacia hettacra, Alacia belgicae, Metaconchoecia skogsbergi, Boroecia antipoda and Discoconchoecia off. elegans — the first three, endemic to Antarctic waters — were predominant (92.9%). Ostracoda were found most abundantly in the eastern part of the study area — between Elephant Island and South Orkney Islands, and in the south-western part of Bransfield Strait. Their vertical distribution depended on the hydrological conditions. Ostracoda were most numerous in the 500—300 m and 300 — 100 m layers; very few were recorded in the 100—0 m surface layer.
Material for this paper was collected during the BIOMASS-SIBEX research programme, and consisted of 97 samples taken at 47 stations in Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait (Antarctica). The samples were taken by hauling Nansen nets vertically through the 0-100, 100 - 300 and 300 - 500 m layers at the end of December 1983 and the beginning of January 1984. Four Chaetognatha species were recorded in the study region: Eukrohnia hamata, Sagitta gazellae, Sagitta mari and Sagitta planctonis. The population structures of the dominant species E. hamata and also S. gazellae were analyzed in the context of the region's hydrology. Certain regularities are apparent in the distribution of the developmental stages of E. hamata in water column. Mature specimens of this species inhabit deeper waters than juveniles. The highest proportions of juveniles in the entire population of E. hamata were recorded in slightly warmer waters.
Thermoregulation is fully developed in 5 day old Wilson's storm petrels Oceanites oceanicus (Kuhl). Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body temperature (Tb) of unattended 1- and 3-day old chicks continuously decrease at ambient temperature (Ta) of 5°C. After being heated the chicks return to normothermia. Ability to survive temporal deep hypothermia seems to be an adaptation to absence of parents and low temperatures in the nest during first days of life. After snow storm, during two days of starvation, chick RMR decreases by 40% at Ta of 0°C, but chick Tb is stable. This suggest decrease of thermal conductance (Ct). Fall of Ct may suggest beginning of hypohermia.
Lipolytic activity was assayed in samples of Antarctic krill frozen in different conditions and in its liquid digesta with synthetic (tributylglycerol, esters of 2-naphtol and fatty acids C3, C9 , C14 and C18 ) and natural (olive oil) substrates. It was testified that the lipolytic activity is several-fold higher in the crustaceans with high food intake than in those with an empty digestive tract. Krill lipases show higher activity against esters of unsaturated fatty acids that against analogous derivatives of saturated ones and 10-fold higher affinity tributylglycerol (Km = 1.12 mM). Their maximal activity is at pH 6.4 and 37°C. E. superba lipases preserve total activity up to 35°C for 45 minutes, and are completely inactivated at 55°C for 5 minutes. Prevailing part of lipolytic activity is present in krill cephalothorax, however, extracts from krill abdomen also display a marked activity. Krill lipases are probably resistant to an attack of crustacean's proteinases.
Thirty four specimens of bony fishes (5 species) and four specimens of skates (2 species) were examined. Skates were infected with adult representatives of Phyllobothrium sp. (Tetraphyllidea) and Macrobothridium sp. (Diphyllidea). Bony fishes were infected with three morphological forms of tetraphyllidean cercoids (with mono- and bilocular bothridia, and bothridia undivided with hook-like projections), diphyllobothrid plerocercoids and one pseudophyllidean species, Bothriocephalus antarcticus sp.n. This species, as well as two species found in skates, seems to be endemic for the Kerguelen subregion.
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.
Species diversity of Collembola was studied in the vicinity of Polish Polar Station, Hornsund area, West Spitsbergen. A list of 32 species has been compiled, and their distribution over microlandscapes and microhabitats in the study area has been presented.
Communities of soil invertebrates were studied in 4 types of tundra ecosystems on Spitsbergen (Hornsund area) during the vegetative season of 1989. Taxonomic composition, density and biomass of soil fauna were evaluated in the sites along a gradient of increase in the biogenic impact of bird colonies, i.e. in polygonal tundra, mossy/lichenous tundra, Calliergon stramineum moss association, and mossy associations near a colony of Little Auks (Alle die). Average total biomass of soil invertebrates increased in this site sequence from 1.1 to 25.0 g wet weight x m-2 (mainly due to collembolans and nematodes). Seasonal dynamics of all groups of soil meso- and macrofauna (Nematoda, Enchytraeidae, Aranei, Acarina, Collembola, Coleoptera, Diptera larvae) is presented and discussed.
The authors make a review of relics of Russian Hunting Stations on the Dunöyane (Down Islands), a group of small islets to the north of the mouth of the Hornsund fiord. They relate to the relics of the station from Store Dunöya and to the well known story about the groups of Russian hunters that were killed in 1819. Remnants of dwelling-houses, baths, monumental votive crosses, graves a.s.o. on Fjörnholmen are relics of a large basic stations situated very close to a convenient anchorage. Undoubtedly, it was working mainly during the second half of the 18th century.
Topography and toponymies of Dunöyane were discussed in brief. The location of Lammas Islands was considered. The author recognized it as a trace of discovery of Dunöyane by Hudson in 1607. Historical data on human activity in this region was presented with a closer look at the murder of 10 Russians in 1819 and at Norwegian economic exploitation in the 19th and 20th centuries.