The west coast of Spitsbergen is influenced by water masses of Atlantic and Arctic origin. During the winter of January-April 2006, water temperatures on the West Spitsbergen Shelf were similar to 3 degrees C warmer than typical winter conditions, leading to a coastal sea ice cover of reduced thickness, extent and duration. A sediment trap deployed from September 2005 to May 2006 in the outer basin of Kongsfjorden (NW Spitsbergen) at a depth of 115 m has provided a continuous winter time-series of zooplankton during a period of rapid increase in water temperatures. Prior to an anomalous and prolonged influx of warm Atlantic water (AW) starting at the end of January, the trap samples were dominated by the boreo-Arctic copepod Metridia longa. Species that increased in abundance during the influx included late stages of Calanus finmarchicus, C. glacialis, C. hyperboreus and Paraeuchaeta norvegica. The early introduction of shelf populations into the fjord, and thus increased copepod biomass relative to typical winter conditions with little advection, has implications for the marine pelagic food web and pelagic-benthic coupling.
- WESTERN NORWAY
- Biodiversity Conservation