Penguins (Aves: Sphenisciformes) hold much interest for many people, including (but not limited to) scientists. According to results of molecular studies, penguin history began in the Cretaceous, but the oldest bones assigned to these birds are Paleocene in age. The first fossil representative of Sphenisciformes formally described was Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, and this event took place 150 years ago. Since that time, several dozens of species have been erected, though not all of them have stood a test of time. The 21st century entered new dynamics into the paleontology of penguins, and (importantly) it concerned both the new material, and new theories. This paper summarizes what we currently know about extinct penguins and indirectly suggests the most promising areas for further research.
A large sample of more than 1500 individuals of scavenging Amphipoda from fur seal carcass was studied. Six species have been identified. The two most abundant species, Abyssorchomene plebs and Waldeckia obesa, are sublittoral, necrophagous amphipods that could attack the carcass when submerged in the sea. After stranding on the beach they became an attractive food source for birds eating not only the seal tissues but also the scavenging amphipods. The species composition of the present sample as well as earlier data on Antarctic tern stomach content and baited traps taken in the same area and at the same time agreed quite well. These observations confirm the expectation that Antarctic tern feeds on necrophagous amphipods picked out from carcasses stranding on the sea shore.
Since 1978 the retreat of Ecology Glacier in the vicinity of Henryk Arctowski Station has opened new ice-free areas for colonization by terrestrial organisms initiated by pioneer microbes. Samples were collected from the soil surface, at 0, 5 and 20 cm below surface close to glacier front, then stored at below -20°C . Total bacterial count (TC), estimated by epifluorescence microscopy, reached high values, of 1010 g-1 dry wt. Healthy looking bacterial cells of mean volume 0.0209 µm3 at 0 cm to 0.0292 µm3 at 20 cm made up from 7% at 0 cm , to 30% at 20 cm of total bacterial population. The number of colony forming units (CFU) accounted for only 0.02% of TC. Taxonomically they belonged to the a, b, g subdivisions of the proteobacteria and to the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides (CFB) group. Morphophysiologically CFU bacteria were diverse, from Gram variable short coccal forms to very long rods or filaments. Randomly selected CFU colonies were characterized by low sugar assimilation and high esterase/lipase activity. Spore forming bacteria – absent from 0 and 5 cm , formed a small fraction of 175 cells g-1 dry wt at the 20 cm depth. Filamentous fungi were relatively abundant and represented mainly by oligotrophs.
The aim of this study was to assess the anisakid nematode distribution pattern in the fish collected from the South Shetland Islands . A total of 32 fish species were examined for the presence of nematodes in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 2007/2008. The fish were caught off the South Shetland Islands ( Elephant Island , Shishkov Island and in Admiralty Bay – King George Island ). Three genera of L3 larval nematodes were identified: Anisakis sp., Contracaecum spp. and Pseudoterranova decipiens. The infection level was higher on the shelf around the islands than in Admiralty Bay . This is explained by a higher abundance of the final hosts in the region. A comparison of the infection data from 1978/79 and 2007/2008 with data from 1994/96 (Palm et al. 1998, 2007) was done. The parameters of infection of Notothenia coriiceps and Lepidonotothen nudifrons by Pseudoterranova decipiens were decreasing within the 30 years period.
The aim of this study was to examine the pollution level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and selected chloroorganic pesticides (HCH isomers, DDT and its metabolites, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, endosulfan I and II, and methoxychlor) in surface sediments from selected fjords, tidal plains and lakes from the North Svalbard area. The sediments were collected from 34 sampling stations in July 2005. Only endosulfan I and methoxychlor, among selected chloroorganic pesticides, were measured in concentrations near detection limit (LoD) in fourteen sediment samples. The sum of seven PCB congeners varied from < 0.9 to 5.6 ng g-1 d.w. in sediments from fjords and tidal plains and from < 0.1 to 14.6 ng g-1 d.w. in sediments from lakes. The concentrations of analysed PAH compounds in surface sediments from lakes were over ten times higher (Ʃ16PAHs to 429 ng g-1 d.w.) than in sediments from fjords and tidal plains (Ʃ16PAHs to 36 ng g-1 d.w.).
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