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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Petr Strelkov.

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Strelkov, P., Shunatova, N., Fokin, M. et al. Marine Lake Mogilnoe (Kildin Island, the Barents Sea): one hundred years of solitude. Polar Biol 37, 297–310 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-013-1431-4

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Keywords

  • Anchialine lake
  • Meromictic lake
  • Isolation
  • Benthos
  • Zooplankton
  • Stratification