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Shallow winter and summer macrofauna in a high Arctic fjord (79° N, Spitsbergen)
Kędra, M.; Legezynska, J.; Walkusz, W. (2011). Shallow winter and summer macrofauna in a high Arctic fjord (79° N, Spitsbergen). Mar. Biodiv. 41(3): 425-439. dx.doi;org/10.1007/s12526-010-0066-8
In: Marine Biodiversity. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 1867-1616, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Benthos; Sublittoral zone; Winter; PN, Arctic [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Kędra, M.
  • Legezynska, J.
  • Walkusz, W.

    Very little is known about benthic organisms surviving strategies in extreme winter conditions in polar areas. Most of the research conducted in Arctic has been carried out during the summer from depths available to research vessels. Our study is the first one conducted in winter within a high Arctic fjord at shallow depths. The main aim was to examine the patterns of diversity and community structure of shallow macrobenthos along the depth and distance-to-glacier gradients during winter in Kongsfjorden. The results are compared against reference sampling conducted during the summer. Samples were taken at four depth transects located along the shore of the fjord from the Kongsbreen glacier to the Ny-Ålesund settlement, in March 2009, when the fjord was frozen, with ice cover of 47 cm thickness and no signs of a phytoplankton bloom. The overall species abundance and biomass at shallow depths reached up to 11,800 ind. m-2 at 15 m and 180 g m-2 with over 120 taxa found in winter and another 26 taxa found in summer. Shallow benthic fauna stayed relatively stable throughout the year with carnivores and opportunistic species increasing in numbers during winter. The need for further studies on overwintering strategies of bottom fauna is stressed.

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