The purpose of this study was to present the current state of avifauna in the vicinity of Polish Polar Station, at Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen). During four seasons (2003-2006) ten bird species were recorded as breeding there. Among them colonial little auk and Arctic tern were most abundant. Six additional species were noted during the breeding season but none of them bred there and their visits in the study plots were a consequence of their nesting nearby study area. Remaining 11 species were recorded during migration. The most pronounced changes over the last 35 years has been a considerable increase in number of barnacle geese exploiting the tundra as their foraging and resting area.
The total numbers and biomass of bacterioplankton in two Arctic glacial fjords off west Spitsbergen were studied. Samples were collected from different water depth layers – from the surface to 80–90 m depth. Total bacterial number (TBN), biomass and morphological structure (shape of bacteria) were determined using the acridine orange direct count method. The highest values of TBN and biomass in the water column were found in Kongsfjorden in the stations adjacent to Kongsbreen Glacier, and the lowest values in the outer part of the Krossfjorden. The local maxima of bacterioplankton were observed in water layers around pycnocline. The morphological structure was similar in all samples – the bacteria were dominated by rods (over 65%), followed by cocci (16–20%) and vibrios (11–15%).
Fjords of West Spitsbergen are very dynamic in terms of hydrology. Here we tested whether the qualitative analysis of the taxonomic composition of phytoplankton may be useful as a fast method to assess the origin of the waters and whether it can give any additional information to hydrological data. Phytoplankton samples were collected along transects in Hornsund and Kongsfjord. Among total of 109 taxa identified, only 49 were common in both fjords. The assemblages in Hornsund implied that inflow of the cold waters of the Sřrkapp Current had occurred some time before samples collection, while in Kongsfjord the taxonomic composition was typical for the summer and did not show any recent, unusual hydrological phenomenon. Concluding, the method can be useful in the surveys in which hydrological data are collected infrequently.
Intertidal zone of four gravel beaches in Hornsund Fjord (West Spitsbergen) were investigated in order to study macrofaunal distribution and diversity in these poor habitats. A total of 12 macrofaunal taxa were found in the collected material. The most frequent and the most abundant taxon was Lumbricillus sp. (Oligochaeta). The next most numerous group were juvenile Gammarus spp. juv. The fauna included also polychaetes, molluscs and other crustaceans. The diversity measured with Shannon-Weaver index was low and varied from 0 to 1.4. The analysis revealed that there were no statistically important differences in macrofaunal distribution among stations in fjord. However there were significant differences among various tidal mark zones and high patchiness in animals abundance at each station. Also species composition, density and biomass were diversified along the tide level profile.
The buoyant hypopycnal flow of brackish water and suspended sediment transport and settling were studied in two sub-polar fjords: the glacial Kongsfjörden and the outwash (non-glacial contact) Adventfjörden, Svalbard . The data presented indicates faster water mixing on the tidal flat in comparison to the englacial runoff, which leads to faster horizontal density gradients decreases in the non-glaciated fjord. The fast settling of particles in the narrow zone of the steep slope at the edge of the tidal flat leads to the removal of 25% of the surface suspended sediment. The rapid settling is due to increasing salinity, decreasing velocity, and flocculation of fine particles. The fast settling of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the tidal flat area causes sediment redeposition and resuspension followed by sediment transport along the bottom with hyperpycnal flows. This leads to grain sorting in the fjord head. In contrast, at the glacier front, SPM is transported farther into the fjord, where tidal pumping and water mixing lead to the removal of 71% of total SPM. The fjords investigated represent two different sedimentological regimes. In the glaciated Kongsfjörden, the buoyant hypopycnal flow of brackish water is the main sediment transporting factor. In the non-glacial Adventfjörden, hyperpycnal flows transport sediment along the bottom.