Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 297–310 | Cite as

Marine Lake Mogilnoe (Kildin Island, the Barents Sea): one hundred years of solitude

  • Petr Strelkov
  • Natalia Shunatova
  • Mikhail Fokin
  • Nikolay Usov
  • Mikhail Fedyuk
  • Sergey Malavenda
  • Olga Lubina
  • Alexey Poloskin
  • Sergei Korsun
Original Paper


Lake Mogilnoe (Kildin Island, the Barents Sea) is a marine stratified lake, a refuge for landlocked populations of marine organisms. Unlike other known marine lakes from polar areas, which communicate with the sea by water percolation at the surface, Mogilnoe has a subterranean connection with the sea like tropical and subtropical anchialine lakes. Similarly to some other marine lakes, Mogilnoe has traditionally been considered to be biologically isolated from the sea and subject to little change. We review the current status of the physical features, zooplankton and benthos of Mogilnoe and trace changes that have occurred in the lake since the start of observations in 1894. The anaerobic bottom water layer has expanded by 100 %, while the upper freshwater layer has diminished by 40 %. The species diversity of zooplankton and macrobenthos has halved. The occurrence of Atlantic cod likens Mogilnoe to some other Arctic marine lakes while the presence of large flocks of sea anemones, scyphomedusae and suberitid sponges makes it similar to tropical anchialine lakes. Lake Mogilnoe is not entirely biologically isolated; accidental introduction of species from the sea does occur. We argue that the idealised model of an isolated steady-state ecosystem can be applied to a marine lake with caution. A model of fluctuating abiotic environment and partial biological isolation portrays the real situation better.


Anchialine lake Meromictic lake Isolation Benthos Zooplankton Stratification 



We extend our sincere gratitude to the following persons and organisations: D. Redkin, E. Movchan and other members of the Saint-Petersburg State University Barents Sea expeditions for their assistance in the field; I. Stogov, A. Fateev, K. Sanamyan, S. Stepaniants and E. Shoshina for their help with species identification and synonymisation of taxonomic names; N. Lentsman, M. Dawson and P. Viaroli for scientific and English language editing of the manuscript; and WWF Russia, St. Petersburg Naturalists Society, A. Zavarzin, O. Sutkaitis, V. Spiridonov, P. Lubin, S. Shtinnikov, V. Klimenko and the Northern Navy for logistic support. Partial financial support was obtained from Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant nn. 07-04-01734-a, 07-04-10086-k, 13-04-00394-a) and WWF Russia.

Supplementary material

300_2013_1431_MOESM1_ESM.doc (124 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 123 kb)
300_2013_1431_MOESM2_ESM.doc (88 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 88 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petr Strelkov
    • 1
  • Natalia Shunatova
    • 1
  • Mikhail Fokin
    • 2
  • Nikolay Usov
    • 2
  • Mikhail Fedyuk
    • 1
  • Sergey Malavenda
    • 3
  • Olga Lubina
    • 4
  • Alexey Poloskin
    • 1
  • Sergei Korsun
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Biology and Soil ScienceSt. Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Zoological InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesSaint PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Faculty of BiologyMurmansk State Technical UniversityMurmanskRussia
  4. 4.Murmansk Marine Biological InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesMurmanskRussia
  5. 5.Shirshov Institute of OceanologyMoscowRussia

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