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Botanica Marina

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Species composition, zonation, and biomass of marine benthic macroalgae in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard

1 / Christian Wiencke2 / Barbara Vögele3 / Nikolaj A. Kovaltchouk4

1Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway

2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany

3Akvaplan-niva AS, Fram Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway

4Komarov Botanical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 197376, Russia

Corresponding author

Citation Information: Botanica Marina. Volume 55, Issue 4, Pages 399–414, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: 10.1515/bot-2012-0097, May 2012

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We surveyed macroalgae at Hansneset, Blomstrand (78°39′N, 11°57′E) in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, down to 30 m depth between 1996 and 1998. In total, 62 species were identified: 16 Chlorophyta, 25 Phaeophyceae, and 21 Rhodophyta. The majority of species (53.5%) belonged to the Arctic cold-temperate group, followed in frequency by species distributed from the Arctic to the warm-temperate region (25.9%). Four endemic Arctic species (Laminaria solidungula, Acrosiphonia flagellata, A. incurva, and Urospora elongata) were found. Two species (Pogotrichum filiforme and Mikrosyphar polysiphoniae) were new to Svalbard. Chlorophyta, Phaeophyceae, and Rhodophyta extended from the eulittoral zone down to 11, 21, and >30 m depths with maximum biomasses at 1–5 m, 5–10 m, and 5–30 m depths, respectively. Annual and pseudoperennial species had highest biomasses in the upper 5 m, while perennials were distributed deeper. The highest biomass (8600 g m-2 wet weight) at 5 m depth comprised mainly L. digitata, Saccorhiza dermatodea, Alaria esculenta, and Saccharina latissima. The biogeographic composition of macroalgae at Hansneset was rather similar to that of northeastern Greenland, but different from that of northern Norway, which has a higher proportion of temperate species. Climate warming and ship traffic may extend some of the distribution ranges of macroalgae from mainland Norway to Svalbard.

Keywords: Arctic fjords; biogeography; depth zonation; macroalgae; seaweeds; species inventory

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