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  • 1
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 24 (2005), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Seventy-seven years ago a tragedy took place in the Norwegian Arctic which shook the international community–especially Norwegians–and led to the public condemnation of the Italian explorer and airship builder Umberto Nobile. Steinar Aas, historian and author of a book on Nobile, has perused a trove of “new” material recently donated to the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Polar Museum in Tromsø, Norway. In this (unreviewed) piece, Aas explains why he finds the new collection a fascinating subject for further research.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Observation data of temperature, precipitation and snow depth have been compiled and generalized climatologically for a network of 38 stations in and around the Barents and Kara seas, for the period 1951–1992. The monthly precipitation totals were corrected for measuring errors, and the correction method is described in detail. The corrected precipitation values show that the annual precipitation in the region ranges from more than 500 mm along the coast of the Kola Peninsula to less than 200 mm in parts of the north-eastern Kara Sea. The solid fraction of the annual precipitation ranges from 70% in northern parts to 35% in southern parts. For the period 1951–1992 the analysis indicates decreasing trends in annual values of temperature, precipitation and snow depths in the north-eastern parts of the region.
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  • 3
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 24 (2005), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: The importance of the Hell Gate Polynya to marine birds in High Arctic Canada has not been assessed for two decades. Our breeding season surveys in 2002–04 found 19 species of marine birds using the polynya, in annual numbers perhaps reaching 25000 individuals. The site appears to support nationally significant populations of northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Thayer's gull (Larus thayeri) and High Arctic brant (Branta bernida hrota), as well as locally important numbers of other species including common eiders (Somateria mollissima borealis) and black guillemots (Cepphus grylle). The polynya may be particularly important for migration, as many species are observed here earlier than elsewhere in the High Arctic.
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  • 4
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 24 (2005), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Inevitably, aerobic life leads to the formation of deleterious reactive oxygen species (ROS) which participate in biomolecule oxidation, hence augmenting biomolecule turnover. Organisms have adapted to counteract the noxious effects of ROS by developing a battery of antioxidant defences (AOX) which comprise enzymes and low-molecular weight scavengers. Past studies have reported elevated AOX levels in polar pectinid bivalves compared with temperate congeners. This finding is controversial as mitochondrial ROS generation is low in polar versus temperate species, and, to date, there is no generally accepted explanation of the causes of increased basal AOX levels in polar waters. We suggest that the low food availability in those ecosystems may result in polar marine ectotherms diverting some energy into the maintenance of high AOX. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the total oxyradical scavenging capacity (peroxyl, hydroxyl and peroxynitrite) of three clam species: Laternula elliptica (Antarctic), Mya truncata (Arctic) and Mya arenaria (temperate). The data confirmed that polar bivalves are characterized by higher AOX. Herein, we propose that high AOX is required in environments characterized by low food availability as AOX efficiently protects biomolecules, notably the RNA expressed at high levels by cold-water ectotherms. Also, high AOX may explain the relatively long lifespan of most polar ectotherms.
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  • 5
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 23 (2004), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Caribou and muskoxen are the only ungulate species occupying Arctic tundra environments. We analysed plant fragments found in fresh (〈 4 hr old) samples of faecal material to determine the diets of Peary caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi) and muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) on Banks Island, Canada. Willow was a major component of the diets of both animals, dominating the caribou diet during summer and representing substantial proportions of the muskoxen diet during at least seven months of the year. The diet of caribou was more diverse than that of muskoxen and was dominated by sedge, willow (Salix arctica), legume (Astragalus spp., Oxytropis spp.) and Dryas integrifolia. The diet of muskoxen was dominated by sedge and willow. There was substantial overlap (up to 70%) in the diets of these herbivores with the similarity more pronounced in areas of high muskox density (ca. 1.65 ani mals/km2). We discuss herbivore diets in relation to foraging behaviour and forage availability.
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  • 6
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 23 (2004), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
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  • 7
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 23 (2004), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Data obtained during the last 20 years from selected hydrographic stations throughout the Arctic Ocean basins and at the continental slopes and northern parts of the surrounding shelf seas are examined to estimate the contribution of Atlantic water to the upper part of the Arctic Ocean water column, and to follow the circulation of the Atlantic derived halocline waters around the Arctic Ocean basins. A substantial fraction of the Atlantic water entering the Arctic Ocean in the two inflow branches, the Fram Strait branch and the Barents Sea branch, is transformed into less dense waters. The inflow through Fram Strait encounters and melts sea ice. Its upper part becomes less saline, and in winter, ice formation homogenizes this low salinity upper part into a winter mixed layer, which follows the boundary flow eastward. The inflow over the Barents Sea mainly becomes colder, less saline and denser due to cooling and net precipitation, but melting of sea ice also here creates a less dense upper layer, which is subsequently homogenized by haline convection. Both these components enter the Nansen Basin via the St. Anna Trough and flow eastward along the Siberian continental slope. A third component of the Barents Sea inflow, mainly comprising Norwegian Coastal Current water, remains on the shelf, where it absorbs the runoff from the large Siberian rivers and evolves into low salinity shelf water. This part continues as far east as the Laptev Sea before a major inflow to the deep Arctic Ocean basins occurs. Winter convection, which in most of the Nansen Basin extends to the Atlantic layer, then becomes limited to the injected low salinity shelf water, and the more saline upper layers of the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea branches are transformed into halocline waters. The Fram Strait branch supplies the halocline water of the Amundsen, Makarov and part of the Canada basins, while the upper part of the Barents Sea branch, initially confined to the Siberian continental slope, becomes the main source of the lower halocline below the Pacific water in the Canada Basin beyond the Chukchi Cap. Less dense Pacific water close to the North American continent prevents the Atlantic derived upper layers from flowing through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and their main exit is Fram Strait. Only some of the Barents Sea branch halocline water passes through Nares Strait and may occasionally renew the deep and bottom waters of Baffin Bay.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Results of analyses of stomach and intestinal contents from hooded (Cystophora cristata) and harp (Phoca groenlandica) seals captured in the pack ice belt of the Greenland Sea in summer (July-August) in 2000 and winter (February-March) in 2001 revealed that the diet of both species were comprised of relatively few prey taxa. Pelagic amphipods of the genus Parathemisto, the squid Gonatus fabricii, polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and capelin (Mallotus villosus) constituted 63-99% of the observed diet biomass in both seal species, irrespective of sampling period, but their relative contribution to the diet varied both with species and sampling period/area. For hooded seals, G. fabricii and capelin were the dominant food items in winter 2001, but the summer 2000 diet comprised a mixture of this squid and polar cod. Parathemisto was most important for the harp seals during summer 2000; in winter 2001 the contribution from krill and capelin were comparable to that of Parathemisto. Multivariate analyses revealed differences in the intestinal contents of hooded and harp seals in areas where the two species’ occurrence spatially overlapped. Different foraging depths of the two species may have contributed to the observed differences in diets.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: Two strains of psychrotolerant Antarctic marine bacteria were isolated and characterized using biochemical and molecular techniques. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene showed that UVvi strain belongs to the genus Arthrobacter whereas UVps strain is related to the Flexibacter-Cytophaga-Bacteroides (FCB) group. Response of the strains to solar radiation was studied during the summer of 1999 in Potter Cove, near Jubany station (South Shetland Island, Antarctica). The effect of photosynthetically available radiation (PAR, 400-700 nm), ultraviolet-A (UV-A, 320-400 nm) and ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B, 280-320 nm) on cell viability was studied using mixed cultures in quartz bottles covered with interferential filters and exposed to solar radiation. In all experiments, four treatments were used: dark (with light screened out), PAR (with UV radiation screened out), PAR+UV-A (UV-B screened out) and PAR+UV-A+UV-B. Under the assayed conditions, PAR+UV-A and PAR+UV-A+UV-B radiation showed similar negative effects on the viability of the studied strains. However, at the end of the exposure time, mortality values in PAR+UV-A+UV-B treatments were higher than those observed under PAR+UV-A treatments. In both PAR+UV-A and PAR+UV-A+UV-B treatments we observed high levels of hydrogen peroxide compared with the dark control. The Arthrobacter UVvi strain showed significant recovery in dark conditions after exposure to the PAR+UV-A but not after the PAR+UV-A+UV-B treatment. This strain proved to be more resistant to UV radiation than the FCB group-related UVps strain. The results showed that UV radiation has a deleterious effect on these Antarctic marine bacteria and also revealed that the analysed components of the Antarctic bacterioplankton may have different responses when they are exposed to the same irradiance conditions.
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  • 10
    Electronic Resource
    Electronic Resource
    Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Polar research 23 (2004), S. 0 
    ISSN: 1751-8369
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Notes: In many areas of Svalbard, the Neoglacial terminal deposits represent the Holocene glacial maximum. The glaciers began the retreat from their Neoglacial maximum positions around 1900 AD. Based on high resolution acoustic data and sediment cores, sedimentation patterns in four tidewater glacier-influenced inlets of the fjord Isfjorden (Tempelfjorden, Billefjorden, Yoldiabukta and Borebukta), Spitsbergen, were investigated. A model for sedimentation of tidewater glaciers in these High Arctic environments is proposed. Glacigenic deposits occur in proximal and distal basins. The proximal basins comprise morainal ridges and hummocky moraines, bounded by terminal moraines marking the maximum Neoglacial ice extent. The distal basins are characterized by debris lobes and draping stratified glacimarine sediments beyond, and to some extent beneath and above, the lobes. The debris lobe in Tempelfjorden is composed of massive clayey silt with scattered clasts. Distal glacimarine sediments comprise stratified clayey silt with low ice-rafted debris (IRD) content. The average sedimentation rate for the glacimarine sediments in Tempelfjorden is 17 mm/yr for the last ca. 130 years. It is suggested that the stratified sediments in Tempelfjorden are glacimarine varves. The high sedimentation rate and low IRD content are explained by input from rivers, in addition to sedimentation from suspension of glacial meltwater. The debris lobes in Borebukta are composed of massive clayey silt with high clast content. Distal glacimarine sediments in Yoldiabukta comprise clayey silt with high IRD content. The average sedimentation rate for these sediments is 0.6 mm/yr for the last 2300 years.
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