Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research


Polish Polar Research | 2012 | No 4 |

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This paper presents the first results of measurements of global solar radiation, albedo, ground surface and 2−m air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction carried out in the central part of Spitsbergen Island in the period 2008–2010. The study site was located on the coastal ice−free zone of Petuniabukta (north−western branch of Billefjorden), which was strongly affected by local topography, character of the ground surface, and sea ice extent. Temporal analysis of the selected meteorological parameters shows both strong seasonal and inter−diurnal variation affected by synoptic−scale weather systems, channelling and drainage effects of the fjords and surrounding glaciers. The prevailing pattern of atmospheric circulation primarily determined the variation in global solar radiation, wind speed, ground surface and 2−m air temperatures. Furthermore, it was found that thermal differences between Petuniabukta and the nearest meteorological station (Svalbard Lufthavn) differ significantly due to differences in sea ice concentrations and ice types in the fjords during the winter and spring months.
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Authors and Affiliations

Kamil Láska
Denisa Witoszová
Pavel Prošek
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Vegetation succession in front of five retreating glaciers was studied using phytosociological relevés (60) located at different distances between the Little Ice Age (LIA) moraines and the present glacier fronts around Petunia Bay. Approximate dating of succession stages was based on a study of the changing position of glacier fronts in the past approximately 100 years. The described succession corresponds to the uni−directional, non−replacement model of succession. All constituent species, except one, present in the nearby old tundra have colonized the glacier forelands since the end of the LIA. The first species appeared about 5 years after deglaciation. The latest succession stages closely resemble the old tundra.
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Authors and Affiliations

Karel Prach
Grzegorz Rachlewicz
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Studies of past vegetation from the inner fjords of the Svalbard archipelago have not previously been reported. This study assesses the potential of sediments retrieved from two sites in Petuniabukta, Billefjorden to track vegetation response to Quaternary climate change. The first sediment profile was retrieved from periodic lake on a 4 m a.s.l. marine terrace with a basal radiocarbon dated to 5 080 ± 30 BP, the second was retrieved from a depression in wet tundra on a 24 m a.s.l. marine terrace, which upper part was dated to 9 470 ± 30 BP. The study is primarily focused on macro- and micro−fossils. Pollen grains are present in very low concentrations. Macro−fossils were represented mostly by leafs and buds of Salix species and Dryas octopetala as well as the hybrid Salix herbacea x polaris . Fossil moss remains represent an important part of arctic ecosystems. Tardigrada remains were found in the sediments in high abundance whilst eggs and exuviae of at least six species were identified. The sediments are definitely suitable for the reconstruction of past conditions. However, it is necessary to take care not to focus at single type of analysis, as pollen analysis appeared uninformative and more information was obtained from plant macro − fossils (mosses, vascular plants). Little attention has been given to Tardigrada in the past, as they were overlooked and the preservation in sediments is usually very low.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jiří Košnar
Alexandra Bernardová
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The diversity of cyanobacterial assemblages from various microhabitats in the Arctic area of Petuniabukta, Billefjorden, central Svalbard, was described. The present article contains the introductory common review of the cyanobacterial diversity and ecological data concerning main habitats, while the characteristics of individual taxonomic groups will be presented in following specific studies. Eight distinct main habitats were recognized, which differed in their species composition and especially the dominant species. More than 80 morphospecies were registered during our investigation, but only about 1/3 of them could be assigned to known and described taxa. The others require additional analyses based on modern taxonomic methods (the polyphasic approach ). The composition of cyanobacterial micro flora was comparable with assemblages in coastal Antarctica. The diversity of unicellular and colonial morphotypes (36 taxa) was higher tha n other groups. The number of filamentous species without heterocytes and akinetes, with 30 species, and heterocytous types, with only 20 species, were similar in both of these ecosystems. These numbers will be surely changed in the future, but the overall proportion of different groups will likely stay the same. In contrast to the limited species diversity, simple filamentous aheterocytous species were dominant and formed massive populations. Fewheterocy tous taxa, mostly grouped within the genus Nostoc ( N. commune –complex), were dominant in tundra soils.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jiří Komárek
Lubomír Kováčik
Josef Elster
Ondřej Komárek
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Filamentous types from the order Oscillatoriales, particularly the species Phormidium autumnale , have widely diverse morphotypes, which dominate in Arctic aquatic microbial mats and wet soils. We cultivated 25 strains of Ph . autumnale from Svalbard and compared them with available strains from surrounding regions. The comparison of strains, based on 16S rDNA and 16S−23S rDNA intergenic spacer sequences, revealed the similarity of strains from Ellesmere Island, the Canadian Arctic and Abisko, Sweden with strains from Svalbard. The rate of colonization of Ph. atumnale from aquatic habitats is relatively high and we suggest geese as a main transmission vector from surrounding lands. Strains of Ph. autumnale were positioned in the phylogenetic tree according to their occurrence in similar habitats. An apparent clustering factor is the duration of availability of water in lakes and long−lasting streams in contrast to rapid and repeated desiccation in soil and on wetted rock in the spray zone of waterfalls. Strains that grow in very cold waters just above the melting point of snow or ice form a distinct genetic group. The strains investigated in this study show morphological similarity in the shape of the trichomes of the studied specimens. Overall, the cell diameter, except for terminal cells, of our strains varied between 3 and 10 μm. Comparison of 16S rDNA sequences of the genus Ph. autumnale with the previously published definition of the species Microcoleus vaginatus revealed the identity of these two species.
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Authors and Affiliations

Otakar Strunecký
Jiří Komárek
Josef Elster
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Vegetation was described in various spatial scales in the area of 37.8 km 2 including distinguishing vegetation units, vegetation mapping, recording phytosociological relevés (53), and completing species lists of vascular plants (86), mosses (124) and lichens (40). Phytosociological relevés were elaborated using ordination methods DCA and CCA. The relevés formed clusters corresponding well to a priori assigned vegetation units. Slope and stoniness significantly influenced the vegetation pattern. Despite the high latitude (nearly 80 ° N), the vegetation is rather rich in species. Non−native species do not expand. The moss Bryum dichotomum is reported for the first time from Svalbard archipelago.
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Authors and Affiliations

Karel Prach
Jitka Klimešová
Jiří Košnar
Olexii Redčenko
Hais Martin
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In order to simulate the warming effects on Arctic wetlands, three passive open−top chambers (OTCs) and three control cage−like structures (CCSs) equipped with soil temperature and soil volumetric water content (VWC) probes for continuous micro− climatic measurements were installed in a wet hummock meadow, Petuniabukta, Billefjorden, central Spitsbergen, in 2009. The warming effects on primary productivity were investigated during summer seasons 2009 and 2010 in cyanobacterial colonies of Nostoc commune s.l., which plays an important role in the local carbon and nitrogen cycles. The microclimatic data indicated that the effect of OTCs was dependent on microtopography. During winter, two short−term snow−thaw episodes occurred, so that liquid water was available for the Nostoc communities. Because of the warming, the OTC hummock bases remained unfrozen three weeks longer in comparison to the CCSs and, in spring, the OTC hummock tops and bases exceeded 0 ° C several days earlier than CCS ones. Mean summer temperature differences were 1.6 ° C in OTC and CCS hummock tops, and 0.3 ° Cinthe OTC and CCS hummock bases. The hummock tops were drier than their bases; however the VWC difference between the OTCs and CCSs was small. Due to the only minor differences in the microclimate of OTC and CCS hummock bases, where the Nostoc colonies were located, no differences in ecophysiological characteristics of Nostoc colonies expressed as photochemistry parameters and nitrogenase activities were detected after two years exposition. Long−term monitoring of Nostoc ecophysiology in a manipulated environment is necessary for understanding their development under climate warming.
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Authors and Affiliations

Josef Elster
Jana Kvíderová
Tomáš Hájek
Kamil Láska
Miloslav Šimek
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The ability to grow clonally is generally considered important for plants in Arctic regions but analyses of clonal characteristics are lacking for entire plant communities. To fill this gap, we assessed the clonal growth of 78 plant species in the Petuniabukta region, central Spitsbergen (Svalbard), and analyzed the clonal and other life−history traits in the regional flora and plant communities with respect to environmental gradients. We distinguished five categories of clonal growth organs: perennial main roots produced by non− clonal plants, epigeogenous rhizomes, hypogeogenous rhizomes, bulbils, and stolons. Clonal growth differed among communities of the Petuniabukta region: non−clonal plants prevailed in open, early−successional communities, but clonal plants prevailed in wetlands. While the occurrence of plants with epigeogenous rhizomes was unrelated to stoniness or slope, the occurrence of plants with hypogeogenous rhizomes diminished with increasing stoniness of the substratum. Although the overall proportion of clonal plants in the flora of the Petuniabukta region was comparable to that of central Europe, the flora of the Petuniabukta region had fewer types of clonal growth organs, a slower rate of lateral spread, and a different proportion of the two types of rhizomes.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jitka Klimešová
Jiří Doležal
Karel Prach
Jiří Košnar
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Diurnal measurements of photosynthetic pr ocesses, effective quantum yield of photosystem II ( F PSII ), photosynthetic electron transport rate (ETR) were done in three domi− nant species of Arctic tundra ( Silene acaulis , Dryas octopetala , Salix polaris ) in Petunia− bukta, Spitsbergen. Daily courses of net photosynthesis (P N ) were calculated from chloro− phyll fluorescence data and daily photosynthesi s evaluated. The short−term field measure− ments were carried out in summer 2009, and 2010. Fluorometric parameters ( F PSII and ETR) were measured each 5 minutes as well as microc limate characteristics of the site for 10 (2009) and 8 days (2010), respectively. In all species photosynthetic ETR was well related to incident photosynthetically active radiation a nd leaf temperature. In general, D. octopetala exhibited slightly lower ETR than the other two speci es. Estimated maximu m photosynthetic rate (P Nmax ) reached 17.6, 21.4, and 22.9 μmol CO 2 m −2 s −1 for S. polaris , S. acaulis ,and D. octopetala , respectively. Daily photosynthesis reach ed comparable values in all species, D. otopetala , however, exhibited slightly lower values than the other two species both for overcast and fully sunny days (3.9 and 13.4 mmol CO 2 m −2 d −1 , respectively). The range of daily photosynthesis for S. polaris and S. acaulis studied, reached the ranges of 4.6–6.9 and 14.6–15.2 mmol CO 2 m −2 d −1 for overcast and fully sunny day, respectively.
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Authors and Affiliations

Miloš Barták
Váczi Peter
Josef Hájek

Editorial office


Magdalena BŁAŻEWICZ (Life Sciences), University of Łódź, Poland

Wojciech MAJEWSKI (Geosciences), Institute of Paleobiology PAS, Poland

Michał ŁUSZCZUK (Social Science and Hummanities), UMCS, Poland

Associate Editors

Piotr JADWISZCZAK (Białystok),


Krzysztof JAŻDŻEWSKI (Łódź),


Monika KĘDRA (Sopot)


Ewa ŁUPIKASZA (Sosnowiec)


Piotr PABIS (Łódź),


Editorial Advisory Board

Angelika BRANDT (Hamburg),

Claude DE BROYER (Bruxelles),

Peter CONVEY (Cambridge, UK),

J. Alistair CRAME (Cambridge, UK),

Rodney M. FELDMANN (Kent, OH),

Jane E. FRANCIS (Cambridge, UK),

Andrzej GAŹDZICKI (Warszawa)

Aleksander GUTERCH (Warszawa),

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Jiří KOMÁREK (Třeboň),

Wiesława KRAWCZYK (Sosnowiec),

German L. LEITCHENKOV (Sankt Petersburg),

Jerónimo LÓPEZ-MARTINEZ (Madrid),

Sergio A. MARENSSI (Buenos Aires),

Jerzy NAWROCKI (Warszawa),

Ryszard OCHYRA (Kraków),

Maria OLECH (Kraków)

Sandra PASSCHIER (Montclair, NJ),

Jan PAWŁOWSKI (Genève),

Gerhard SCHMIEDL (Hamburg),

Jacek SICIŃSKI (Łódź),

Michael STODDART (Hobart),

Witold SZCZUCIŃSKI (Poznań),

Andrzej TATUR (Warszawa),

Wim VADER (Tromsø),

Tony R. WALKER (Halifax, Nova Scotia),

Jan Marcin WĘSŁAWSKI (Sopot) - President.



phone: (48 22) 697 88 53

Instytut Paleobiologii PAN
ul. Twarda 51/55
00-818 Warszawa, POLAND

Life Sciences
phone: (48 22) 635 42 97

Zakład Biologii Polarnej i Oceanobiologii Uniwersytet Łódzki
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phone: (48 81) 537 68 99

Instytut Geografii Społeczno-Ekonomicznej i Gospodarki Przestrzennej UMCS
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The quarterly Polish Polar Research invites original scientific papers dealing with all aspects of polar research. The journal aims to provide a forum for publication of high-quality research papers, which are of international interest.

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Responsibility for the accuracy of bibliographic citations lies entirely with the authors. The inline references to published papers should consist of the surname of the author(s) followed by the year of publication. More than two authors should be cited with the first author’s surname, followed by et al. (Dingle et al. 1998) but in full in the References.

ANDERSON J.B. 1999. Antarctic Marine Geology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
BIRKENMAJER K. 1991. Tertiary glaciation in the South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica: evaluation of data. In: M.R.A. Thomson, J.A. Crame and J.W. Thomson (eds) Geological Evolution of Antarctica. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 629–632.
DINGLE S.A., MARENSSI S.A. and LAVELLE M. 1998. High latitude Eocene climate deterioration: evidence from the northern Antarctic Peninsula. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 11: 571–579.
SEDOV R.V. 1997. Glaciers of the Chukotka. Materialy Glyatsiologicheskikh Issledovaniy 82: 213–217 (in Russian).
SOBOTA I. and GRZEŚ M. 2006. Characteristic of snow cover on Kaffioyra’s glaciers, NW Spitsbergen in 2005. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 16: 147–159 (in Polish).
WARD B.L. 1984. Distribution of modern benthic foraminifera of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. M.Sc. Thesis. Victoria University, Wellington (unpublished).

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