Polar Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 8, pp 652–661 | Cite as

Substratum as a structuring influence on assemblages of Arctic bryozoans

  • Piotr Kuklinski
  • Bjørn Gulliksen
  • Ole Jorgen Lønne
  • Jan Marcin Weslawski
Original Paper

Abstract

The nature of the substratum is a fundamental factor determining the types of organisms and communities found in many terrestrial and benthic habitats. The extent to which this is true in extreme environments was investigated using bryozoan assemblages as model organisms in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden 79°N, 12°E) in summer 2001 using SCUBA. Twenty-seven substrate samples of 0.25 m2 were taken at 10 m depth from the inner glacial basin to the mouth of the fjord. Multivariate analyses revealed four different bryozoan assemblages. The sea floor of the inner basin of Kongsfjorden near the glacial fronts was characterized by low diversity and dominance of the ctenostome species Alcyonidium disciforme Smitt. Highest richness and diversity occurred on rock substratum with mean size >10 cm2, on which the most common species was the pioneer Harmeria scutulata Busk (abundance: 15%). On smaller rocks with mean size <2 cm2, the runner-like pioneer species Electra arctica Borg comprised most individuals of the assemblage (98%). Yet another pioneer, Celleporella hyalina Linnaeus, was the most abundant species (49%) on substratum dominated by algae. Thus, in each habitat type, pioneers dominated but different species and to different extents. There was much variation in species composition and abundance within assemblages of heterogeneous habitats, and this study emphasizes the importance of microhabitats and physical conditions. Heterogeneity was evident at scales of <1 m.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank especially Dr. Maria Wlodarska-Kowalczuk (IO PAS) and Dr. David Barnes (BAS) for comments leading to an improved manuscript. Thanks are also due to Dr. Adam Sokolowski (Gdansk University, Poland), Bartosz Witalis (Sea Fishery Institute, Poland) for help with samples collection and great company. We are very grateful to Agata Zaborska for granulometry analyses. Work in Ny-Alesund Large Scale Facility (LSF) was supported by a grant from the European Commission’s programme (no. NP-51/2001). The study has been completed thanks to the funds provided by grant 3 PO4F 081 24 from Polish State Committee for Scientific Research, HIGHLAT grant to first author from the European Commission’s programme and award from Otto Kinne Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piotr Kuklinski
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bjørn Gulliksen
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ole Jorgen Lønne
    • 5
  • Jan Marcin Weslawski
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of OceanologyPolish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland
  2. 2.The University Center on SvalbardLongyearbyenNorway
  3. 3.Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Aquatic BiologyNorwegian College of Fishery ScienceTromsøNorway
  5. 5.Institute of Marine ResearchTromsøNorway

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