July 15, 2016
Underwater flora research on
the Novaya Zemlya shores
The LMSU Marine Research Center experts carried out a research of near-shore kelp beds in the area of the Novaya Zemlya bird colonies.
Nikolay Shabalin, Polar Expedition Kartesh Project Head Deputy for marine biology and ecology, LMSU Marine Research Center CEO:
In the course of the offshore strip research in the area of kittiwake and guillemot colonies located on Cape Sakhanin, Novvaya Zemlya Yuzhny Island, Polar Expedition Kartesh project in collaboration with the LMSU Marine Research Center carried out underwater video examination of the seabed landscapes with a specialized submersible video camera. The works were carried out on a motor boat with transverse transects ranging from the waterline to the depths of 15 meters.
As a result, we discovered lush kelp beds macrophytes right below the bird colonies.
Lateral transects, positioned to identify the kelp beds spread area along the bird colony cliffs, revealed that the macrophyte belt is very dense: the kelp beds form a massive cover up to several meters in height, which spreads along the bird colony cliff and goes more than 15 meters deep.
Extreme density of the kelp beds is most likely caused by the active inflow of biogenic elements from the bird colonies. Those colonies are home for approximately 250 thousand birds, and the fact that their droppings become natural fertilizer might be the reason for such active kelp development.
For the further detailed research of the discovered biocoenosis biodiversity, linked with thу macrophyte belt, next year we need to conduct diving examination and take samples of the bottom vegetation as well as animals that inhabit it.