Contributions to Zoology, 85 (3) – 2016Rob W. M. van Soest: Sponge-collecting from a drifting ice floe: the Porifera obtained in the Kara Sea by the Dutch Polar Expedition 1882-83

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Abstract

Sponges from the Kara Sea (Arctic Russia) collected by the Dutch Polar Expedition 1882-83 are identified and discussed. The expedition experienced an unfortunate course of events, as the research vessel RV ’Varna’ was ice-bound and eventually got crushed by ice, leaving the crew and the scientists stranded on an ice floe drifting around in the Kara Sea. The scientists still managed to do many observations and made collections of bottom animals lowering collecting gear through a hole in the ice. After being enclosed for more than a year in the ice, the men travelled in small boats and sledges to the mainland of Russia and from there returned home. The zoological collections were brought to Copenhagen by the Danish research vessel RV ‘Dijmphna’, from where the material was picked up by the Dutch scientists. Most animal groups were subsequently discussed in a series of papers published in the Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde volume 14 (1887). The sponges of the Dutch Polar Expedition were in a rather bad condition when they arrived in Amsterdam and possibly for that reason were largely ignored. They nevertheless appear to be interesting and are here presented as a belated contribution to the 1887 issue, including the description of a species new to science, Lycopodina ruijsi sp. nov. The results are discussed in the framework of our present knowledge of the sponge fauna of the Kara Sea. In Appendix ten already known species are briefly described and SEM images of their spicules provided as a contribution to Kara Sea sponge morphology.