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