The distribution of picoplankton and nanoplankton in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard during late summer 2006


Abundance and biomass of pico- (<2 μm) and nanoplankton (2–20 μm) were investigated in relation to hydrography in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (79°N, 12°E) during late summer 2006. Autotrophic and heterotrophic picoplankton abundance ranged from 0.1 × 106 to 35.2 × 106 cells L−1 and from 0.4 × 106 to 20.3 × 106 cells L−1, respectively. The highest number of bacteria in the entire water column was recorded at station 2 at 10 m (22.3 × 108 cells L−1); the lowest concentration was observed at station 1 (6.0 × 108 cells L−1). The abundance of autotrophic and heterotrophic nanoplankton varied from 0.4 × 105 cells L−1 to 46 × 105 cells L−1 and from 0.3 × 106 to 9.1 × 106 cells L−1, respectively. Our results demonstrated that heterotrophic nanoflagellates and bacteria in Kongsfjorden microbial community were relatively important. The structure of plankton communities integrated with environmental variables could act as indicators of the variability of the inflow of Atlantic Water into Kongsfjorden.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Cottier F, Tverberg V, Inall M, Svendsen H, Nilsen F, Griffiths C (2005) Water mass modification in an Arctic fjord through cross-shelf exchange: the seasonal hydrography of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. J Geophys Res 110:C12005. doi:10.1029/2004JC002757

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Cottier FR, Nilsen F, Inall ME, Gerland S, Tverberg V, Svendsen H (2007) Wintertime warming of an Arctic shelf in response to large scale atmospheric circulation. Geophys Res Lett 34:L10607. doi:10.1029/2007GL029948

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Halldal P, Halldal K (1973) Phytoplankton, chlorophyll, and submarine light conditions in Kings Bay, Spitsbergen, July 1971. Norw J Bot 20:99–108

    Google Scholar 

  4. Hop H (2002) The marine ecosystem of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Polar Res 21:167–208

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Hop H (2006) Physical and biological characteristics of the pelagic system across Fram Strait to Kongsfjorden. Prog Oceanogr 71:182–231

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Jankowska K, Włodarska-Kowalczuk M, Wieczorek P (2005) Abundance and biomass of bacteria in two Arctic glacial fjords. Pol Polar Res 26:77–84

    Google Scholar 

  7. Kiørboe T (1993) Turbulence, phytoplankton cell size, and the structure of pelagic food webs. Adv Mar Biol 29:1–72

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Menden-Deuer S, Lessard EJ (2000) Carbon to volume relationships for dinoflagellates, diatoms and other protist plankton. Limnol Oceanogr 45:569–579

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Nielsen TG, Hansen B (1995) Plankton community structure and carbon cycling on the western coast of Greenland during and after the sedimentation of a diatom bloom. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 125:239–257

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Nielsen TG, Kiørboe T (1991) Effects of a storm event on the structure of the pelagic food web with special emphasis on planktonic ciliates. J Plankton Res 13:35–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Sherr EB, Sherr BF, Fessenden L (1997) Heterotrophic protists in the Central Arctic Ocean. Deep Sea Res II 44:1665–1682

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Svendsen H, Beszczynska-Møller A (2002) The physical environment of Kongsfjorden, an Arctic fjord system in Svalbard. Polar Res 21:133–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Taylor GT (1989) Variability in the vertical flux of microorganisms and biogenic material in the epipelagic zone of a North Pacific central gyre station. Deep Sea Res 36:1287–1308

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Valérie A, Louis P (2000) One-month study in the open NW Mediterranean Sea (DYNAPROC) experiment, May 1995): overview of the hydrobiogeochemical structures and effects of wind events. Deep Sea Res I 47:397–422

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Wesławski JM, Zajaczkowski M, Kwaśniewski S, Jezierski J, Moskal W (1988) Seasonality in an Arctic fjord ecosystem: Hornsund, Spitsbergen. Polar Res 6:185–189

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40576002, 40806073, 40776003); the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (No. 052307053); the Youth Marine Science Foundation of SOA (No. 2008128); the Resource Sharing Platform of Polar Samples (2005DKA21406), and the Polar Strategic Research Foundation of China. We thank Dr. Chaolun Li and Mr. Hongliang Li for their field work and YY. Lou and JM. Liu for their technical and statistical assistance. Thanks for the review’s critical suggestion.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jianfeng He.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wang, G., Guo, C., Luo, W. et al. The distribution of picoplankton and nanoplankton in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard during late summer 2006. Polar Biol 32, 1233–1238 (2009).

Download citation


  • Nanoplankton
  • Bacteria
  • Picoplankton
  • Arctic
  • Kongsfjorden