Radionuclides in the Arctic echinoderms have seldom been studied despite their considerable environmental importance. This manuscript covers the results of 90Sr and 137Cs measurements in common echinoderm taxa collected from the Svalbard Bank in the Barents Sea and from two High-Arctic fjords (Isfjorden and Magdalenefjorden). We focused on the echinoid, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, the asteroid, Henricia sanguinolenta, and the ophiuroid, Ophiopolis aculeata. For all echinoderms, the analysis revealed a negative correlation between 90Sr activity and the mass. Thus, we concluded that metals are accumulated faster at a young age when the growth is most rapid. The highest average activities of 137Cs followed the order O. aculeata>H. sanguinolenta>S. droebachiensis. This suggests that bioaccumulation was highly taxon-dependent and could reflect differences in the isotope exposures associated with the diet of echinoderms. The study provides a baseline for understanding radionuclide processes in the High-Arctic benthic echinoderm communities.
During both winter and summer, Svalbard reindeer selectively feed on different types of vegetation that are not only a source of nutritional value, but also a place of heavy metal accumulation. In the present study, the content of cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, nickel, manganese, and zinc in reindeer excrement was measured. The main aims were to determine the seasonal content of several heavy metals in Svalbard reindeer faeces, and to compare their values in terms of dietary preferences during the year. Summer and winter reindeer excrement was gathered along a designated linear transect running through Bolterdalen and the vegetation described on 1 m2 plots. All of the analysed heavy metals were detected in the reindeer faeces and this fact seems to be connected with the incomplete content of these elements in an animal's tissue after forage digestion. Analysis showed differences between summer and winter excrement in terms of concentrations of cadmium, chromium, iron, and nickel, but no differences were found for the other four elements analysed (manganese, lead, zinc, and copper). However, concentrations of heavy metals in faeces are rather low in comparison with both the levels in the vegetation that may be grazed by reindeer and in reindeer tissue.
Recently, there have been several studies using open top chambers (OTCs) or cloches to examine the response of Arctic plant communities to artificially elevated temperatures. Few, however, have investigated multitrophic systems, or the effects of both temperature and vertebrate grazing treatments on invertebrates. This study investigated trophic interactions between an herbivorous insect (Sitobion calvulum, Aphididae), a woody perennial host plant (Salix polaris) and a selective vertebrate grazer (barnacle geese, Branta leucopsis). In a factorial experiment, the responses of the insect and its host to elevated temperatures using open top chambers (OTCs) and to three levels of goose grazing pressure were assessed over two summer growing seasons (2004 and 2005). OTCs significantly enhanced the leaf phenology of Salix in both years and there was a significant OTC by goose presence interaction in 2004. Salix leaf number was unaffected by treatments in both years, but OTCs increased leaf size and mass in 2005. Salix reproduction and the phenology of flowers were unaffected by both treatments. Aphid densities were increased by OTCs but unaffected by goose presence in both years. While goose presence had little effect on aphid density or host plant phenology in this system, the OTC effects provide interesting insights into the possibility of phenological synchrony disruption. The advanced phenology of Salix effectively lengthens the growing season for the plant, but despite a close association with leaf maturity, the population dynamics of the aphid appeared to lack a similar phenological response, except for the increased population observed.
A previous study of 76 plant species on Spitsbergen in the High Arctic concluded that structures resembling arbuscular mycorrhizas were absent from roots. Here, we report a survey examining the roots of 13 grass and forb species collected from 12 sites on the island for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation. Of the 102 individuals collected, we recorded AM endophytes in the roots of 41 plants of 11 species (Alopecurus ovatus, Deschampsia alpina, Festuca rubra ssp. richardsonii, putative viviparous hybrids of Poa arctica and Poa pratensis, Poa arctica ssp. arctica, Trisetum spicatum, Coptidium spitsbergense, Ranunculus nivalis, Ranunculus pygmaeus, Ranunculus sulphureus and Taraxacum arcticum) sampled from 10 sites. Both coarse AM endophyte, with hyphae of 5-10 µm width, vesicles and occasional arbuscules, and fine endophyte, consisting of hyphae of 1-3 µm width and sparse arbuscules, were recorded in roots. Coarse AM hyphae, vesicles, arbuscules and fine endophyte hyphae occupied 1.0-30.7, 0.8-18.3, 0.7-11.9 and 0.7-12.8% of the root lengths of colonised plants, respectively. Principal component analysis indicated no associations between the abundances of AM structures in roots and edaphic factors. We conclude that the AM symbiosis is present in grass and forb roots on Spitsbergen.
Mosses dominate many northern ecosystems and their presence is integral to soil thermal and hydrological regimes which, in turn, dictate important ecological processes. Drivers, such as climate change and increasing herbivore pressure, affect the moss layer thus, assessment of the functional role of mosses in determining soil characteristics is essential. Field manipulations conducted in high arctic Spitsbergen (78 degrees N), creating shallow (3 cm), intermediate (6 cm) and deep (12 cm) moss layers over the soil surface, had an immediate impact on soil temperature in terms of both average temperatures and amplitude of fluctuations. In soil under deep moss, temperature was substantially lower and organic layer thaw occurred 4 weeks later than in other treatment plots; the growing season for vascular plants was thereby reduced by 40%. Soil moisture was also reduced under deep moss, reflecting the influence of local heterogeneity in moss depth, over and above the landscape-scale topographic control of soil moisture. Data from field and laboratory experiments show that moss-mediated effects on the soil environment influenced microbial biomass and activity, resulting in warmer and wetter soil under thinner moss layers containing more plant-available nitrogen. In arctic ecosystems, which are limited by soil temperature, growing season length and nutrient availability, spatial and temporal variation in the depth of the moss layer has significant repercussions for ecosystem function. Evidence from our mesic tundra site shows that any disturbance causing reduction in the depth of the moss layer will alleviate temperature and moisture constraints and therefore profoundly influence a wide range of ecosystem processes, including nutrient cycling and energy transfer.
Material from Spitsbergen (Norway) collected by Spitzenberger (1996) was reinvestigated. A new genus Arctocypris and a new species Arctocypris. fuhrmanni n. gen. n. sp. are described in the present paper. A key to the genera of the subfamily Eucypridinae is provided. At the moment Arctocypris n. gen. comprises four species: Arctocypris arctica (Olofsson, 1918) comb. nov.; A. dulcifons (Diebel & Pietrzeniuk, 1969) comb. nov.; A. foveata (Delorme, 1968) comb. nov. and Arctocypris fuhrmanni n. gen., n. sp.
A Gram-negative, arsenite-resistant psychrotolerant bacterial strain, Yersinia sp. strain SOM-12D3, was isolated from a biofilm sample collected from a lake at Svalbard in the Arctic area. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the ability of acid-treated and untreated, non-living biomass of strain SOM-12D3 to absorb arsenic. We conducted batch experiments at pH 7, with an initial As(III) concentration of 6.5 ppm, at 30 °C with 80 min of contact time. The Langmuir isotherm model fitted the equilibrium data better than Freundlich, and the sorption kinetics of As(III) biosorption followed the pseudo-second-order rate equation well for both types of non-living biomass. The highest biosorption capacity of the acid-treated biomass obtained by the Langmuir model was 159 mg/g. Further, a high recovery efficiency of 96% for As(III) was achieved using 0.1 M HCl within four cycles, which indicated high adsorption/desorption. Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) demonstrated the involvement of hydroxyl, amide, and amine groups in As(III) biosorption. Field emission scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive analysis (FESEM-EDAX) indicated the different morphological changes occurring in the cell after acid treatment and arsenic biosorption. Our results highlight the potential of using acid-treated non-living biomass of the psychrotolerant bacterium, Yersinia sp. Strain SOM-12D3 as a new biosorbent to remove As(III) from contaminated waters.
Permafrost soils are unique habitats in polar environment and are of great ecological relevance. The present study focuses on the characterization of bacterial communities from permafrost profiles of Svalbard, Arctic. Counts of culturable bacteria range from 1.50?×?103 to 2.22?×?105 CFU?g-1 , total bacterial numbers range from 1.14?×?105 to 5.52?×?105 cells?g-1 soil. Bacterial isolates are identified through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas are the most dominant genera, and A. sulfonivorans, A. bergeri, P. mandelii, and P. jessenii as the dominant species. Other species belong to genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Enterobacter, Nesterenkonia, Psychrobacter, Rhizobium, Rhodococcus, Sphingobacterium, Sphingopyxis, Stenotrophomonas, and Virgibacillus. To the best of our knowledge, genera Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, Nesterenkonia, Psychrobacter, Rhizobium, Sphingobacterium, Sphingopyxis, Stenotrophomonas, and Virgibacillus are the first northernmost records from Arctic permafrost. The present study fills the knowledge gap of culturable bacterial communities and their chronological characterization from permafrost soils of Ny-Ålesund (79°N), Arctic.