Ecological monitoring of the coastal water of Kola Peninsula Печать E-mail

SOKOLOV V.I., SHTRIK V.A. Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography

The Barents Sea is one of the most attractive area in the Arctic for the oil companies as a place were significant stocks of oil and gas are concentrated.

At the same time the Barents Region is an important fisheries area. The ecosystems of the Barents Sea are increasingly exposed to man's activities. The sea and coastal oil pollution are growing from year to year. The development of the mineral and biological resources is effected in the open sea as well as in the near shore. Therefore the ecological investigation has to be conducted before the beginning of the oil and gas production and oil-pipe line building as well as during their exploitation. Investigations for obtaining an etalon picture of ecosystem condition before the projects beginning should be a sine qua non.

Normally the monitoring studies are conducted at the open seawater at depths more than 50-60 m because of possibilities to carry out the trawls and grabs there. But the investigation of coastal water receives undeservedly little attention. In the coastal zone such activities are rather rare and irregular mostly due to shortage of good methodologies for gathering and processing the biological material and also due to strategy of investigations.

At the same time the biocenosises of the coastal area are the most vulnerable to the human activity. Thereupon the Laboratory of the commercial invertebrates and algae of VNIRO leads the complex investigations of bottom biocenosises of the coastal water of Kola Peninsula. Our researches include stock assessment of numbers and biomass of the main invertebrates and algae species, primary acquisition of coastal ecosystems condition and collection of data about pollution.

The original methodology was developed to study coastal ecosystems. It combines traditional hydrobiological methods and foundations used in geobotany. The unique features of the method are complex and description of communities and application of multi-statistical analyses for getting quantitative assessment of ecosystem. Computer methods were used to calculate biodiversity coefficient, statistical coefficients of distribution phyto- and zoo-benthos by depth, and for dominant and co-dominant analyses.

The studies were provided from July till August 2002 in the Guba Teriberka of the Barents sea and from the June 17th till July 7th and from the August 2nd till September 4th 2003 along the most part of the coastal of Coastal Peninsula from the Varanger-fjord (69° 42.4' N -31° 20.7' E) in the Barents Sea to the river's Varzuga area (66° 17.6' N - 36° 21.7' E) in the White Sea. The monitoring study based on biocenosis stratification of coastal area by method of diving transects and detailed description of quantitative and qualitative indicators of ecosystem. The system of tracing includes some parameters like indexes of biodiversity, structure of communities, level of ecosystem pollution (including bio-components and soil), and indexes of commercial stock value of ecosystem and individual biocenosises. The vertical structure of coastal ecosystem, sex-size ratio of the main commercial invertebrate species and their stock conditions were thoroughly investigated as well.

The level of pollution in tissue of the Mussels (Mytilns eduIis, Modiolus modiolus). Scallops (Chlamys islandicus) and Urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) was studied. Altogether 16 near-shore polygons were created, with more than 100 transects and 1000 stations described. The following commercial invertebrates: Red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus), three Urchins species (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, S. pallidas and Echinus esatlentus). Scallops (Chlamys islandicus) and Mussels (Mytilus edulis, Modiolus modiolus) form more or less numerous aggregations in investigated area. The saturation point of all size and sex groups was observed in the western region, mainly in the Varanger-fjord. The population size of mature females in the Varanger-fjord and Motovskiy Bay was estimated as 9.2 ± 4.3 million specimens. The average density of mature females is decreased to the eastern area. The same situation was observed for the immature specimens. The maximal density of immature males and females was in the Varanger-fjord. Besides high density of immature crabs was recorded in the Motovskiy Bay and in the Guba Teriberka. The immature crabs occur rarely in the area to the east of Dal'nezeleneckaya Guba. In the Svjatonosskiy Bay none of specimen of immature crab was found.

The mature specimens of Red king crab were numerous in the coastal water of Varanger-fjord in June 2002. Their number in the Motovskiy Bay was twice less and in the Guba Teriberka and off the Bol'shoiy Oleniy Island ten times less than in the Varanger-fjord area. But in the eastern area off the archipelago Seven Islands large aggregations of mature males were observed in the shallow waters in July 2002. We suppose the majority of mature females and immature crabs are concentrated in the western part of Russian Zone in the area from the Varanger-fjord to the Guba Teriberka included.

The reproduction potential of Red king crab population is concentrated in this region (we mean only Russian Economic Zone).
Urchins S. droebachicrisis were recorded almost in the all our polygons in the Western and Eastern Murmansk Area on the stone, rock and gravel at depth from 2 to 40 m with normal salinity in the biocenosises of Laminaria spP. and Lithotamnion spP. In the Voronka and Gorlo of the White Sea small number of this species were recorded at depth deeper 10 m on the gravel and stone. The maximal density of 5. droebachiensis were observed off the archipelago Seven Islands at depth 10-20 m and in the Guba Ura at depth 12-15 m, it reached 53 and 35 specimens per nr respectively. Average size of urchins dependent on the salinity and depth. The stocks of 5. droebachiensis in the Guba Pechenga, the Guba Vichani and the Guba Ura were estimated at about 9.7, 10.7 and 11.1 millions specimens respectively. The total stock of this species in the coastal waters of Kola Peninsula at depth 0-30 m were evaluate at about 3.8 billion specimens.

Scallops Chlamis islandicus widely distributed in the area investigated. The largest scallop-beds (96 specimens per m) were recorded off the Terskiy bereg in the Gorlo of the White Sea at depth 20 m. The largest specimen with shell height 122 nun was obtained off the archipelago Seven Islands. The average sizes are decreased from West to East. Stock of scallop in the Guba Pechenga, the Guba Vichani and the Guba Ura were estimated at about 9.7, 5.2 and 11.7 millions specimens respectively. The total stock of scallop in the coastal waters of Kola Peninsula at depth 0-30 m were evaluate at about 488 000 t noncommercial specimens included, hi the area investigated the main stock is concentrated in the Gorlo of the White Sea.

Mussels (Modiolus modiolus) were observed in the all polygons in the Barents Sea. The maximal density 140 specimens per nr were recorded in the small inlet between the Vichani Islands and mainland in the Motovskiy Bay at depth 8-11 m. The largest specimen with shell height 127 mm was obtained off the archipelago Seven Islands. Stock of M. modiolus in the Guba Pechenga, the Guba Vichani and the Guba Ura were estimated at about 4.2, 19.3 and 28 millions specimens respectively. The total stock of M. modiolus in the coastal waters of Kola Peninsula at depth 0-30 m were evaluate at about 460 000 t.

The distribution of sea algae along the seacoast of Kola Peninsula is very irregular and depends on several ecological factors, such as: the order of bottom grounds, the level of wave activity, the tidal hydrodynamics, extent of penetration of fresh water into the superficial layer of bays and gulfs etc. The commercial importance has several of Laminariace algae (Laminaria saccharina, Laminaria digitata) which form kelp round the peninsula anywhere at the rock ground. The commercial value of algae bushes inside gulfs and inlets with little wave activity much better then at the open sea coast.

The common stock of kelp algae of East and West Murman we estimate as 250 thousand tones of raw weight. Stock value of Laminariacea of Lumbovskiy Bay and Terskiy and Kandalakshskiy coast is equal 320 thousand tones in raw material. Although catch activity of algae rather small in region of White and Barents seas, fishery organizations show interest in this kind of production.

The dominating species of brown and red algae of littoral and upper sublittoral are the valuable potential material for pharmacological and chemical industry because of unique biochemical properties. Those algae can be used as aquaculture objects. Such macrophytes like species of genius Porphyra and Ptilota, Desmarestia aculeata, Alaria esculenta, Chordaria flagellifbrmis, Devaleraea ramenraceum, Dichloria viridis, Odonthalia dentata, Palmaria palmata, Phycodrys rubens, Polysiphonia urceolata, Saccorhiza dermatodea have a considerable proportion of biomass of near shore communities and can be recommended for commercial catching on conditions that special technology for processing material will be created.

Species of Fucus and Ascophyllum nodosum have the commercial stock about 50-70 thousand tones at the Kola Peninsula. Those species along with red algae Devaleraea ramenraceum and Palmaria palmate form the basis of littoral phytocenosises. The potential oil spills near shore take a great effect on these communities, which are layout near upper border of the sea.

Analysis of pollution content in tissues of hydrobionts were conducted in Laboratory of physicochemical investigation methods (VNIRO) having applied standard procedure.

In investigated samples total composition of hydrocarbons (HC) fluctuates between 3.05 mg/kg (mussels, urchins) - 6.6 mg/kg (scallops) up to 7.50 mg/kg (urchins) - 24.4 mg/kg (Scallops).

About 20 individual compounds were identified from polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHC). Total composition of PAHC is 0.5 - 4.98 % and varies according to the fishing area from 26 mkg/kg (scallops) - 46 mkg/kg (mussels) to 133 mkg/kg (urchins) - 386 mkg/kg (mussels).

HC of mussels which were collected in Guba Pechenga, Ura, Teriberka, in Kola Bay. by Bol'shoiy Oleniy Island and in Seven Islands area have technogenic character as evidenced by total composition of PAHC. high-level cancerogenic PAHC, excess level of 3.4-benzopyrene, excess of fitane over pristane more then 1.

The highest content of manganese and lead was recorded for Modiolus modiolus. The content of nickel in M. modiolus is 2 times more vs. in mussels, scallops and urchins. Also the content of cadmium was quite high in tissues of this object. From all appearances this species accumulates heavy metals strongly. The content of toxic elements in urchins in all areas did not exceed the Maximum Permissible Concentration (MPC).
On the basis of our dates we suppose that mussels Mytilus edulis is a good indicator of oil pollution while another species Modiolus modiolus accumulate the strong metal as well.

Thus in the shallow water of Kola Peninsula at depth 0-30 m were recorded and estimated considerable stocks of the commercial invertebrates and algae. The distribution and composition of the costal communities were described. The distribution of the main commercial invertebrates in the summer period was studied. The dates on the level of the pollution in the tissue of widely distributed species from the different region of Kola Peninsula were obtained. It allow to provide qualitative oil project appraisal, to give an estimate of any kind of damages and to use this dates in future monitoring studies of Barents Sea for comparison of changes the ecosystem characteristics.



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