Benthic algal vegetation in Isfjorden, Svalbard
Benthic algal vegetation was investigated at 10 sites in Isfjorden, Svalbard. Five sites were visited during summer 2010 and five during summer 2012. Both the littoral and sublittoral vegetation were sampled, the littoral by hand-picking and use of a throwable rake and the sublittoral using a triangular dredge. A total of 88 different taxa were registered, comprising 17 Chlorophyta, 40 Ochrophyta, 30 Rhodophyta and the Xantophyceae Vaucheria sp. The green algae Ulvaria splendens (Ruprecht) Vinogradova was recorded in Svalbard for the first time. Most of the sites consisted of hard bottom substrate, but one site, Kapp Wijk, consisted of loose-lying calcareous red algae (rhodoliths) and had species not recorded elsewhere. The sublittoral at the other sites was dominated by kelp. Molecular analysis confirmed the presence of the red alga Ceramium virgatum and a dwarf form of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus. This study provides a baseline for future studies investigating changes in the vegetation due to environmental changes.