Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–5 | Cite as

Introduction of invertebrates into the High Arctic via imported soils: the case of Barentsburg in the Svalbard

  • Stephen J. Coulson
  • Arne Fjellberg
  • Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz
  • Natalia V. Lebedeva
  • Elena N. Melekhina
  • Torstein Solhøy
  • Christer Erséus
  • Kristine Maraldo
  • Ladislav Miko
  • Heinrich Schatz
  • Rüdiger M. Schmelz
  • Geir Søli
  • Elisabeth Stur
Invasion Note


Forty six species of invertebrate were collected from the manure enriched imported soils below the abandoned cow sheds in the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, Svalbard. Of these, 11 (24 %) were new records for Svalbard, including Collembola, gamasid mites, Enchytraeidae and the first identified Lumbricidae. Many of the new records are species not frequently observed in the Arctic. It is hypothesized that these species arrived with the chernozem soils imported to Barentsburg for the greenhouses from central or southern European Russia, or with livestock. The observations presented here are the first records of human invertebrate introductions establishing in Svalbard outside of dwellings. It is not believed that the majority of new species records described present an immediate threat to the ecology of Svalbard but they may, especially Deuteraphorura variabilis, establish in the nutrient enriched floral communities beneath bird cliffs characteristic of Svalbard.


Collembola Enchytraeidae Lumbricidae Gamasida Dispersal Invasive Alien 



We extend our thanks to Vitaly Kuleshov, the Kola Scientific Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences (KSC RAS) research station manager in Barentsburg and Alexander Roskulyak (Polar Geophysical Institute KSC RAS) for assistance during our fieldwork, Trust Arktikugol and G. A. Tarasov (MMBI) for information on the origin of the imported soils. We also thank Julia Lockwood and Nate Sanders for valuable comments of on an earlier version of the manuscript. Work of R. M. Schmelz was financially supported by the research funding programme LOEWE—Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz of Hesse's Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts. The fieldwork was funded via Norwegian Research Council project AVIFauna (6172/S30).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Coulson
    • 1
  • Arne Fjellberg
    • 2
  • Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz
    • 3
  • Natalia V. Lebedeva
    • 4
  • Elena N. Melekhina
    • 5
  • Torstein Solhøy
    • 6
  • Christer Erséus
    • 7
  • Kristine Maraldo
    • 8
  • Ladislav Miko
    • 9
  • Heinrich Schatz
    • 10
  • Rüdiger M. Schmelz
    • 11
    • 12
  • Geir Søli
    • 13
  • Elisabeth Stur
    • 14
  1. 1.Department of Arctic BiologyUniversity Centre in SvalbardSvalbardNorway
  2. 2.TjømeNorway
  3. 3.Department of Forest ProtectionPoznan University of Life SciencesPoznańPoland
  4. 4.Azov Branch of Murmansk Marine Biological Institute, Institute Arid Zones of Southern Scientific CentreRussian Academy of SciencesRostov-on-DonRussia
  5. 5.Institute of Biology, Komi Scientific CentreUral Branch of the Russian Academy of SciencesSyktyvkarRussia
  6. 6.EEC Research Group, Institute of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  7. 7.Department of Biology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden
  8. 8.Department of Agroecology, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyAarhus UniversityTjeleDenmark
  9. 9.Faculty of SciencesCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  10. 10.Institute of ZoologyLeopold-Franzens University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  11. 11.Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology, and Ecology, Science FacultyUniversity of A CoruñaCoruñaSpain
  12. 12.ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbHFlörsheimGermany
  13. 13.Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  14. 14.Section of Natural History, Museum of Natural History and ArchaeologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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