Snapshot of micro-animals and associated biotic and abiotic environmental variables on the edge of the south-west Greenland ice sheet

Abstract

Microinvertebrates play a role as top consumers on glaciers. In this study we tested what kind of cryoconite material the animals inhabit (mud vs granules) on the edge of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) in the south-west. We also tested the links between the densities of micro-fauna in cryoconite material and selected biotic (algae, cyanobacteria, bacterial abundances) and abiotic (water depth, pH, ion content, radionuclides) factors. We collected 33 cryoconite samples. Tardigrada and Rotifera were found in 18 and 61% of samples, respectively. Invertebrates in this study were considerably less frequent and less abundant in comparison with High Arctic glaciers. The highest density of tardigrades and rotifers constituted 53 and 118 ind./ml, respectively. Generalized linear models showed no relationship between the densities of fauna and biotic and abiotic factors. The densities of animals were significantly higher in granules than in mud. The difference in the densities of animals between granules and mud reflects a simple mechanistic removal of invertebrates from the sediment during its erosion by flushing which leads to mud formation. These processes may influence a random distribution of micro-fauna without clear ecological interactions with biotic and abiotic variables at the edge of the GrIS.

DOI: 10.1007/s10201-017-0528-9

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Cite this paper

@article{Zawierucha2017SnapshotOM, title={Snapshot of micro-animals and associated biotic and abiotic environmental variables on the edge of the south-west Greenland ice sheet}, author={Krzysztof Zawierucha and Jakub Buda and Mirosława Pietryka and Dorota Richter and Edyta Łokas and Sara Lehmann-Konera and Nicoletta Makowska and Michał Bogdziewicz}, journal={Limnology}, year={2017}, pages={1-10} }