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Remains of non-pollen-palynomorphs – tardigrades from Spitsbergen found during pollen analyses

  • Vlasta Jankovská (a1), Milena Roszkowska (a2) and Łukasz Kaczmarek (a2)

Pollen- and non-pollen-palynomorphs (NPP) analytical studies of the northwestern part of Spitsbergen were conducted between 1988 and 1991. As well as pollen from local native flora and more dispersed species, some well preserved remains of tardigrada exuvia, buccal tubes and eggs were found. This study reviewed the remains of at least six tardigrade taxa reported: Dactylobiotus ambiguous, Paramacrobiotus richtersi group, Richtersius coronifer, Macrobiotus hufelandi group, Macrobiotus peterseni and Minibiotus cf. intermedius, which are reassessed and determined more accurately. These findings provide some new insights into the past environmental conditions and changes for Spitsbergen. Based on the present research it can be concluded that tardigrade remains are frequent NPP elements of pollen analyses from lake, peat bogs and detritus sub-fossil sediment cores, at least in polar regions. It can also be stated that tardigrades can be considered indicators in further palaeontological studies helping to reconstruct past environmental conditions (for example humidity) for some regions. However, the knowledge of tardigrades in these types of analyses is still rather poor.

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