, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 66-73

Spitsbergen glacial bays macrobenthos – a comparative study


Macrobenthos was studied in seven glacial bays situated along the Spitsbergen coast between 77 and 79°N. The fauna was dominated by deposit-feeding or carnivorous polychaetes and bivalves. Only 4 of 118 species identified in the collected material occurred in all the west Spitsbergen localities examined (the polychaetes Chaetozone/Tharyx sp., Cossura longocirrata, Lumbrinereis fragilis s.l. (sensu lato), and the bivalve Thyasira flexuosa). Clustering of samples showed a difference between the faunas of east and west Spitsbergen; the latter formed two subgroups, localities open to Atlantic waters and those from inner fjord basins. The fauna in open basins was dominated by cosmopolitan species, whereas arctic elements shares were higher in inner basins and predominated in the fauna in Bettybukta (east Spitsbergen). This indicates arctic, relict character of the inner fjords sites. The biomass ranged from 6 to 310 g/m2 and Shannon diversities from 0.49 to 2.54.

Received: 16 July 1997 / Accepted: 9 February 1998