The Polish geological research on King George Island, South Shetland Islands (West Antarctica), during the two past decades (1977-1996) included: stratigraphy, radiometric dating, petrology and geochemistry, sedimentology and palaeoenvironmental studies, volcanology, tectonics, structural geology, Quaternary geology, paleobotany and palaeozoology. The major scientific achievements were: (1) the establishment of formal lithostratigraphic standards for radiometrically-dated Upper Cretaceous through Tertiary magmatic rock sequences and intercalated sediments; (2) the discovery of four Tertiary glaciations and three interglacials, spanning some 30 Ma from Early/Middle Eocene through Early Miocene; (3) the discovery and systematic elaboration of rich terrestrial and marine biota of Late Cretaceous through Early Miocene ages; (4) the reconstruction of changing Late Cretaceous and Tertiary terrestrial and marine palaeoenvironments in a mobile volcanic-arc setting; (5) the determination of age and structural evolution of the island's two Quaternary volcanoes; (6) the reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous through Recent evolution stages of the South Shetland magmatic arc and its backarc Bransfield Basin and Rift, based on tectonic and structural studies.
Luticola muticopsis is a characteristic species of polar and subpolar regions. Its morphological variability is not yet precisely described. In the investigated population the cells from capitate to shortened, flat rounded tips were observed. The range of dimensions of specimens was 8.8-40.6 μm x 5.5-17.6 μm, striae 11-22/10 μm; this range considerably exceeded that found in holotype diagnosis.
A year-round (3 March 1994 - 28 February 1995) phytoplankton study in Admiralty Bay revealed nanoplankton flagellates (< 20 μm) to be the major algae of the plankton, both in terms of cell numbers and carbon biomass. Their quantities fluctuated widely thoroughly the year showing several peaks, in May, April, December and January. Summer maximum of the group in December was mainly due to Cryptophyceae (4.9 x 106 cells l-1; 98.0 μg C 1-1) and Prasinophyceae (7.3 x 105 cells -1; 33.5 μg C -1). Diatoms were usually scarce (max. 6.8 x 105 cells -1; 7.82 p:g C 1-1) and were dominated by small species of Thalassiosira and by Nitzschia spp. (Pseudonitzschia); the domination structure somewhat differed from that observed in Admiralty Bay in the summer of 1977/78. Algal peaks were related to the surface water (4 m depth) temperature rise from +0.16 to +1.71˚C. Summer phytoplankton maxima were about 5-fold greater than those recorded in the summer of 1977/78.
A lichenicolous fungus, Dactylospora dobrowolskii Olech et Alstrup, new to science is described. The paper reports on 9 species of lichens and lichenicolous fungi collected in the Bunger Oasis (East Antarctica).
The highest infestation by phoronts (resting stages) of Apostoma ciliates forms 1, 2, is restricted to the 3-th and 4-th pairs of E. superba thoracic limbs. They occur mostly on meropodites of endopodite and plumose setae of exopodite. The trophonts (trophic stage) of those Apostoma are present in large numbers in krill's tissue. The life cycle of those histophagous Apostoma include also free-living stage - tomit. Swarm formed by krill seems to be a reason for the common and extensive infestation by protozoans.
Nematoda, Tardigrada, Rotifera and Crustacea composition in different freshwater habitats on Spitsbergen (Arctic) and King George Island (Antarctic) was presented. In all surveyed groups more genera and species were recorded from Spitsbergen than from King George Island. Habitats richest in taxa were moss banks and thaw ponds, whereas streams were poorest in species. In all groups in both regions cosmopolitan species dominated, but higher number of endemic species was recorded on King George Island. Regarding species composition in surveyed groups it can be suggested that freshwater habitats on Spitsbergen are more similar to each other than those on King George Island.
Traps to catch microfauna transported by wind were installed on already colonised by plants area, in the vicinity of the glacier. After 6-week-exposition 859 individuals of microfauna were caught, of which Nematoda constituted 71%, Tardigrada 22% and Rotifcra 7%. Number of microfauna individuals caught depended on distance from the already colonised areas and presence of plant parts, together with which animals can be transported more easily. Microfauna connected with vegetation, which is transferred together with plant parts, was transported in higher numbers. Probably these taxa (i.e. Diphascon within tardigrades and Dorylaimidae within nematodes) colonise new habitats at first, but other species dominate later in freshwater bodies.
A collection of 15 283 individuals of tanaidacean crustaceans was gathered by successive Polish Antarctic Expeditions in the years 1977-1993 in Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetland Islands). Twelve species belonging to three families are identified in this study. The material is clearly dominated by Nototanais antarcticus (Hodgson, 1902); other common species were Nototanais dimorphus (Beddard, 1886) and Peraeospinosus sp. A. The highest density of tanaids was over 140 000 specimens m-2 , occuring on a muddy bottom in Herve Cove lagoon.
Herve Cove, a small, shallow and partly isolated basin, is strongly influenced by glacial freshwater inlfow, bringing significant amount of mineral suspension. Its mean annual content amounted up to 46 mg dm-3. Sea anemone (Edwardsia sp.), bivalves (Yoldia eightsi, Laternula elliptica and Mysella sp.), amphipods (mostly Cheirimedon femoratus) a well as some species of polychaetes constituted almost 95% of zoobenthos biomass and 90% of abundance. Four different assemblages of benthic invertebrates, with total biomass ranging from 0.002 kg m-2 up to 1.7 kg m-2, were distinguished in this relatively small (about 12 ha) area. It seems that the freshwater impact influences the composition of an assemblage occurring close to the edge of a glacier. Relatively rich crustacean fauna was encountered in the shallow part of the cove near its entrance. Almost complete lack of echinoderms in Herve Cove, that are common in the shallow Antarctic sublittoral, should also be noted. Macrozooplankton of Herve Cove was dominated by Copepoda. The most frequent and abundant species were: Oithona similis, Ctenocalanus citer and Metridia gerlachei. Far less numerous Chaetognatha represented by three species, Ostracoda, Polychaeta, Pteropoda and Siphonophora constituted only 2.5% of all planktonie animals collected.
The pinnipeds were counted on the western shore of Admiralty Bay during 1994. It was found that the numbers of one breeding species Mirounga leonina is stable, the remaining four species show a variable pattern of occurrence. However, there is no evidence to detect any trend since 1988.
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