The ivory gull Pagophila eburnea is a high-Arctic species threatened by climate change and contaminants. The objective of this study was to assess spatial variation of contaminant levels (organochlorines 'OCs', brominated flame retardants 'BFRs', perfluorinated alkyl substances 'PFASs', and mercury 'Hg') in ivory gulls breeding in different areas across the Arctic region as a baseline for potential future changes associated with climate change. Contaminants were already determined in eggs from Canada (Seymour Island - except PFASs), Svalbard in Norway (Svenskøya), and 3 sites in Russia (Nagurskoe, Cape Klyuv, and Domashny). New data from Greenland allowed the investigation of a possible longitudinal gradient of contamination. The most quantitatively abundant OCs were p,p'-DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) and SPCB (polychlorobiphenyl). Mercury concentrations were higher in Canada compared to other colonies. Eggs from Nagurskoe were often characterized by higher OC and BFR concentrations. Concentrations gradually decreased in colonies situated east of Nagurskoe. In contrast, PFASs concentrations, especially PFOA (perfluorooctanoate) and PFNA (perfluorononanoate), were higher in Greenland. Some of the contaminants, especially Hg and p,p'-DDE, exceeded published threshold levels known to disrupt the reproductive success of avian species. Overall, the levels of OCs, BFRs and PFASs did not suggest direct lethal exposure to these compounds but their potential synergetic/additive sublethal effects warrant monitoring. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The ongoing decline of sea ice threatens many Arctic taxa, including the ivory gull. Understanding how ice-edges and ice concentrations influence the distribution of the endangered ivory gulls is a prerequisite to the implementation of adequate conservation strategies. From 2007 to 2013, we used satellite transmitters to monitor the movements of 104 ivory gulls originating from Canada, Greenland, Svalbard-Norway and Russia. Although half of the positions were within 41 km of the ice-edge (75% within 100 km), approximately 80% were on relatively highly concentrated sea ice. Ivory gulls used more concentrated sea ice in summer, when close to their high-Arctic breeding ground, than in winter. The best model to explain the distance of the birds from the ice-edge included the ice concentration within approximately 10 km, the month and the distance to the colony. Given the strong links between ivory gull, ice-edge and ice concentration, its conservation status is unlikely to improve in the current context of sea-ice decline which, in turn, will allow anthropogenic activities to develop in regions that are particularly important for the species.
Cites: PLoS One. 2013 May 21;8(5):e6461423705000
Cites: PLoS One. 2014 Dec 31;9(12):e11523125551556
Cites: Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Feb;1249:166-9022329928
Cryophilic algae thrive in liquid water within snow and ice in alpine and polar regions worldwide. Blooms of these algae lower albedo (reflection of sunlight), thereby altering melting patterns (Kohshima, Seko & Yoshimura, 1993; Lutz et al., 2014; Thomas & Duval, 1995). Here metagenomic DNA analysis and satellite imaging were used to investigate red snow in Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic. Franz Josef Land red snow metagenomes confirmed that the communities are composed of the autotroph Chlamydomonas nivalis that is supporting a complex viral and heterotrophic bacterial community. Comparisons with white snow communities from other sites suggest that white snow and ice are initially colonized by fungal-dominated communities and then succeeded by the more complex C. nivalis-heterotroph red snow. Satellite image analysis showed that red snow covers up to 80% of the surface of snow and ice fields in Franz Josef Land and globally. Together these results show that C. nivalis supports a local food web that is on the rise as temperatures warm, with potential widespread impacts on alpine and polar environments worldwide.
Institute of Biological Problems of the North Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Portovaya St. 18, 685000 Magadan, Russia Perm State University, Bukireva St., 15 614990 Perm, Russia Association "Maritime Heritage: Explore Sustain", Icebreaker "Krassin", The Lieutenant Schmidt emb., 23 Line, 199106 Saint-Petersburg, Russia. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chironomids of the Diamesinae subfamily from the Russian Arctic were studied using both morphological characters and molecular data. Adult males of Diamesa urvantsevi sp. nov., D. amplexivirilia Hansen, Arctodiamesa appendiculata (Lundström) from Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago and D. arctica (Boheman), Pseudokiefferiella sp. from Vaigach Island were described, redescribed, annotated and figured. A reference 658 bp barcode sequence from a fragment of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I (COI) was used as a tool for species delimitation. For D. arctica (Boheman) and Pseudokiefferiella sp. close DNA barcodes from Norway were performed, which allowed to relate these specimens to the described species. Comparisons with corresponding regions of COI between each described species and close related congeneric species produced K2P genetic distances of 0.11-0.16, values well associated with interspecific variation. Phylogenetic relationships for genera Arctodiamesa Makarchenko and Pseudokiefferiella Zavrel were reconstructed for the first time.