Polar Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 223–228 | Cite as

Shallow benthic fauna communities of South Georgia Island

  • David K. A. BarnesEmail author
  • Katrin Linse
  • Cath Waller
  • Simon Morely
  • Peter Enderlein
  • Keiron P. P. Fraser
  • Matt Brown
Original Paper


Benthic communities in several fjords and sheltered bays of the north coast of South Georgia Island were examined using SCUBA and shore sampling in November 2004. It is one of the most northerly islands within the Polar Front and its well studied, terrestrial biota is described as sub Antarctic. The intertidal and subtidal zones and their fauna are, by comparison, little known. We describe the composition of the substratum and benthic communities of sites in several northern bays, including an exceptional community in the extremely sheltered Moraine Fjord with a 2 m sill at its entrance. In this, like those in some other fjordic systems, some taxa occur shallower than elsewhere, and in this instance, get large and are probably old. Elsewhere, we found the coastal fauna was fairly similar to Antarctic shallow communities in the southern Scotia Arc and Peninsula region. Of the taxa we found, we identified 53 to genus and 41 to species. Most of these were typical Antarctic shallow benthic taxa. Certain flatworms, nemerteans, bivalve and gastropod molluscs, amphipod and isopod crustaceans, asteroid echinoderms and stalked ascidians were very abundant, but some normally common Antarctic higher taxa and species were notably absent or rare.


Southern Ocean Cobble Elephant Seal Gentoo Penguin Colonial Ascidian 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of the officers and crew of the RRS James Clarke Ross. We also thank Peter Fretwell and Huw Griffiths for production of the maps and three anonymous referees for constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. A. Barnes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katrin Linse
    • 1
  • Cath Waller
    • 1
  • Simon Morely
    • 1
  • Peter Enderlein
    • 1
  • Keiron P. P. Fraser
    • 1
  • Matt Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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