Popular Science Monthly/Volume 57/August 1900/Scientific Results of the Norwegian Polar Expedition, 1893-1896
|SCIENTIFIC RESULTS OF THE NORWEGIAN POLAR EXPEDITION, 1893-1896.|
By General A. W. GREELY, U.S. Army.
FEW Arctic expeditions have done so much to increase the world's knowledge as to the physical condition of large areas of the north polar zone as has that of the Fram, initiated and commanded by Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.
The expedition was unique in many respects. The Fram was a departure from the accepted models of Arctic ships; the route followed was one unindorsed by any Arctic authority. The ship was destined to drift unprecedented distances, beset by the enormous ice-pack of the Arctic ocean. The commander himself was not only to attain the highest north, but was to make a most hazardous journey, which was to have a successful and unexpected issue partly through the aid of another polar expedition whose location and existence were unknown to the expeditionary forces of the Fram. Electricity made the Arctic ship a glow of light, a phonograph brought well-known voices to cheer their hours of leisure. Indeed, every device that was deemed of value was utilized.
The extent of the Arctic ocean traversed by the Fram is indicated by the simple fact that she passed over 120 degrees of longitude above the eightieth parallel of north latitude, a distance of one-third around the world on that parallel.
Nansen and Johansen, in an attempt to reach the Pole, left the Fram March 14, 1895, in about 84° N., 100 E., but after an uneventful journey with dogs, they were obliged to turn back on April 7, 1895, in latitude 86° 14' N. They aimed to reach Spitzbergen and after months of weary effort and varying fortunes, these two hardy men landed on the east coast of the Franz Josef archipelago. Coming winter forbade further progress, so they constructed a hut and subsisted on land and sea game that was fortunately abundant. In the spring of 1896, turning southward, they attempted to reach by the kyak the east coast of Spitzbergen, hoping to be picked up by Norwegian whalers who frequent those waters. Fortunately for them, they met in April, 1896, Jackson, the commander of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, near Cape Flora.
Meanwhile the Fram, continuing its westerly drift, in which it passed the most northerly point reached by Parry in boats in 1827, emerged from the ice-floe of the Arctic ocean in the late summer of 1896 and reached Norway on August 20, about ten days later than Hansen's own arrival with the English expedition from Franz Josef
Land. The Fram returned with its frame uninjured and its expeditionary force in health, after having covered in its voyage across the unknown Polar sea an enormous area, estimated at fifty thousand square miles.
The most important discovery was the oceanic depth of the Arctic Sea, where for hundreds of miles this unknown ocean disclosed a depth of oyer two miles. Naturally the absence of land limited the phases of the scientific work of the expeditionary force, which devoted itself to recording the phenomena of the air and the sea.
Nansen in his separate journey utilized his brief opportunities in Franz Josef Land so successfully that his contributions to the geology of that region are of no small importance.
The world has looked forward with a degree of impatience to the publication of the scientific results of this expedition, and now is favored with the first volume, a beautiful quarto of some 479 pages, with 46 fine plates. It consists of a series of memoirs on the building of the ship, on the birds of the air, on the crustacean forms of sea life and a geological study of the southern part of the archipelago of Franz Josef Land; It is a striking tribute to English-speaking scientists that the work will appear in English text only. Although printed in Christiana, such has been the vigilance of the editors that typographical errors are comparatively few.
The account by Colin Archer of the construction of the Fram is not without interest, in view of the fact that this vessel was built on novel lines calculated to cause the ice to meet a sloping surface, so that, pressing down under the bilge, it would cause the vessel to rise and thus insure its immunity from destruction.
Archer says: "In order to utilize this principle, it was decided to depart entirely from the usual deep-bilged form of section and to adopt a shape which would afford the ice no point of attack normal to the ship's side, but would, as the horizontal pressure increased, force the attacking floes to divide under the ship's bottom, lifting her as described above. . . . Plane or concave surfaces were avoided as much as possible by giving her round and full lines. This, while increasing the power to resist pressure from outside, also had the advantage of making it easy for the ice to glide along the bottom in any direction."
As great length is an element of weakness, the Fram's length was cut down as much as possible, with a tendency to make its form circular or oval. Various expedients were adopted to reduce the dead weight of the ship by a judicious arrangement of materials. While economizing weight, the cargo-carrying capacity of the ship could not be too much reduced, and the great strength of the ship must be preserved. Inasmuch as the broadside of the ship, both structurally and from its shape, is its weakest part, it was necessary to adopt extraordinary measures to strengthen it. This was done largely by adding stays of yellow pine placed nearly at right angles to the ship's sides, and securely fastened with wooden knees. These were supplemented with upright stanchions tied by iron straps.
While experienced whalers strongly advocated the square rig, Archer decided to ignore their advice and rigged the Fram as a fore-and-aft three-masted schooner, which style of rig proved, under the circumstances, to be most suitable. The slight increase in leakage is believed by Archer to be due in part to the drawing of the oakum out of the seams and in part to the expansion and contraction of the timbers. While the Fram was not subjected to such tremendous ice convulsion s as have been many other Arctic ships, yet her experiences were very severe and may be considered to prove that the design and system of construction adopted were the most efficient possible.
The most extensive, if not the most important, of the treatises that form this volume, relate to regions and investigations with which the voyage of the Fram were only incidentally connected. Reference is had to the papers on the geological formations of Cape Flora, Franz Josef Land, by Professors Nansen, Pompeckj and Nathorst. Dr. Nansen most cordially acknowledges his great indebtedness to Mr. Jackson and Dr. Reginald Koettlitz, respectively the leader and geologist of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition to Franz Josef Land, 1894-1896. The latter of these gentlemen, in a spirit of broad scientific generosity, accorded Dr. Nansen full and equal access to his discoveries, covering three years' work on Northbrook Island, among fossils and geological conditions of special interest.
Nansen confines himself to a brief geological sketch of Cape Flora and its neighborhood; Pompeckj treats fully the Jurassic fauna, while Nathorst briefly discusses the fossil plants.
Nansen says: "Through Jackson's kindness and Koettlitz's valuable assistance, I was enabled to make a collection of fossils and rocks from the Jurassic deposits of this locality."
"(Koettlitz) took me to places where, before my arrival, he had already found fossils, or had observed anything of importance. Had it not been for him I should certainly not have been able to do what little I did during the few days at my disposal. I agree with Koettlitz on all essential points, and have nothing new of importance to add to what he has already said."
As Nansen elsewhere remarks, the memoirs of Pompeckj and Nathorst supplement the papers of Koettlitz, Newton and Teall, which appeared in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1897, pp. 477-519, and 1898, pp. 620-651.
Pompeckj describes fully the various fossils, illustrates them with wealth of detail, discusses their stratigraphical relations, and outlines the paleographical history of Franz Josef Land.
Of the twenty-six species collected by Nansen no less than seventeen are new as compared with the Jackson-Harmsworth collection, which contains five species lacking to Nansen. There are representatives of single species only of echinoderms, vermes and gastropods, the scarcity of the last named being generally characteristic of the Jurassic fauna of the arctic regions, whether in Siberia, Greenland, or Arctic America. On the other hand, at Cape Flora the cephalopods and the lamellibranchs predominate very largely. This fact makes most notable the absence of the lamellibranch genus Aucella, with all other forms that are especially characteristic of the higher Jura.
The following new species have been determined by Pompeckj: Pseudomonotis Jacksoni, an ornamented shell of a remarkably large Aviculid form. Macrocephalites Koettlitzi, a shell with a very narrow umbilicus and almost completely encircling whorls. Cadoceras Nanseni, an ammonite showing a flat disc-like growth, with moderately thick whorls of which cross-sections are nearly elliptical. Another ammonite may possibly be a variety of C. Nanseni, but Pompeckj considers that it is a separate species owing to its wider umbilicus, less pronounced involution and somewhat asymmetrical lobe-line.
Pompeckj's outline of the paleontographical history of Franz Josef Land is worthy of careful consideration by all interested in this department of science, although many may differ from some of the conclusions reached by him. Commenting on the stratigraphical studies of Prof. E. T. Newton, Pompeckj states that his own investigations compel him to differ materially from the inferences drawn and theories advanced by that scientist.
Pompeckj says: "The occurrence of these three genera of Ammonites proves that the marine fauna of Cape Flora contain representatives of the Callovian. More recent marine horizons have certainly not been formed at Cape Flora, as far as I can judge from the collection of fossils before me. . . . . The Oxfordian and all the more recent Jurassic horizons do not occur as marine deposits at Cape Flora."
He finds species pertaining to the Lower Bajocian, Lower, Middle and Upper Callovian horizons. It is most interesting to note that only one other part of the arctic regions, Prince Patrick Island, Parry Archipelago, has produced fossils, described by Haughton as Lias, that are certainly older than the Callovian. It is, however, recognized as possible that Lundgreen's fossils from East Greenland may form another exception.
Pompeckj points out that while the Bajocian fauna of Cape Flora is without analogy in the arctic regions, it nevertheless presents distinct affinities to the Central European Jura, and especially resembles the Russian Callovian.
Moreover, this Jurrassic collection from Cape Flora is of special importance in outlining the geographic distribution of that system. Pompeckj adds: "Hence the existence of a Bajocian sea in the north of the Eurasian Jura continent is proved beyond all doubt. . . . As early as the Bajocian period, there existed a Shetland Straits, which separated the Eurasian continent, existing through the Lias period until the end of the Bathonian, from the nearctic Jura continent."
The comments relative to the transition of Nova Zembla, Spitzbergen, Franz Josef Land, and possibly Alaska, from land to sea and sea to land, are of marked interest, indicating as they do that large areas of polar regions were exposed in the mesozoic period to repeated and very considerable oscillations of the sea level.
The more interesting of the Jurassic fossils, found at Cape Flora, are shown in the accompanying illustration. Cadocera Nanseni (n. sp.), 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. Cadoceras, sp. ex. aff. Cad. Nanseni (n. sp.), 4. Cadoceras Tchefkini, d'Orb, 7. Cadoceras, sp. indet., 8. Quenstedoceras vertumnum, Sintzow, 9. Cadoceras Frearsi, d'Orb, 10. Macrocephalites, 11. Macrocephalites Koettlitzi, n. sp., 12.The collections of fossil plants, made by Nansen in Franz Josef Land through the courtesy of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, are of scientific value as indicating the fossil Jurassic flora of Franz Josef Land as compared with that of Spitzbergen. These collections fill in a not inconsiderable gap in the Arctic regions, and Nathorst's investigations serve to confirm the opinions and statements made by Professor Heer, whose five volumes of Flora Fossilis Arctica constitute a monumental work. As is well known, research has established the fact that at one time Spitzbergen was covered with a luxuriant miocene vegetation—cypresses, birches, sequoia?, oaks and planes. It moreover appears that tin's growth was coincident with the period when Spitzbergen.
Jurassic Fossils Found at Cape Flora.
Greenland, Franz Josef Land and Nova Zembla experienced a continental climate.
As fossil collections accumulate, one appreciates more and more the masterly manner in which Heer summed up the results of polar exploration as regards Arctic vegetable paleontology. He was the first to present to the world a clear idea of the vegetation of the Cretaceous land, scarcely known to science until elucidated by him. It developed that in Heer's time, among the fossil plants found in Spitsbergen alone were 7 ginkos, 8 pines, a short bamboo, 7 poplars, 3 maples and a fossil strawberry.
Dr. Nansen was fortunate in securing the co-operation of Prof. A. G. Nathorst in the examination of the fossil plants collected in Franz Josef Land, as he has devoted much time to the flora, present and past, of various portions of the Arctic regions, especially Spitzbergen and King Charles Land. Nathorst had the advantage of the notes of Newton, J. H. Steele and R. Curtis on the fossils of Franz Josef Land, published in the Quarterly Journal of Geological Science, London, vols. 53-54, 1897-1898.
Most unfortunately, the fossils were very fragmentary, the leaves in themselves small and often indistinguishable in color from the rock, so that their examination was made almost entirely under the magnifying lens. While the organic substance of the plants was sometimes still to be seen in a soft, brownish variety of rock, yet the harder yellowish varieties offered only impressions, or cavities, their organic substance having entirely disappeared. In cross fractures there were sometimes cavities which were complete transverse sections of coniferous leaves.
There were twenty-nine species, of which the entire number are coniferous except one fungus, one fern, two palms and one uncertain.
Nathorst says: "The plant-bearing strata of Franz Josef Land, which are yet known to us, all belong, with the exception of those from Cook's Eock and Cape Stephen, the age of which is still uncertain, to the upper Jurassic, or the transition beds to the cretaceous, while as yet no tertiary strata have been discovered."
In geological age, while the Franz Josef flora resembles most the previously known Jurassic floras of Siberia and Spitzbergen, yet Nathorst considers the geological age different, and naturally places it between the two, it being evidently younger than that of Siberia.
It is interesting to note that Doctor Koettlitz found in an isolated basalt nunatak (rock or hill protruding from a glacier) fossil plants similar to those found by himself and Nansen on the north side of Cape Flora. These nunatak plants, which Koettlitz believed to be in situ, are identified by Nathorst as Upper Jurassic, and came from an elevation variously estimated as from six hundred to seven hundred and fifty feet above the sea.
Nansen agrees with Koettlitz in believing that tree-trunks found by them, charred into charcoal or partly silicified, chiefly belonged to conifers growing on the soil over which basalt flows were discharged during the Upper Jurassic or Lower Cretaceous age, and that they have been charred by a flowing mass of lava that overwhelmed them.
These fossil plants tell the story of tremendous physical changes which have produced very important modifications in climatic conditions in the Arctic regions. The changes in the types of vegetable life are apparently as extensive in high as in low latitudes. The lower cretaceous flora is almost tropical, as is shown by the predominating forms of this vegetation. Carboniferous formations obtain extensively in the Arctic regions, as they occur in the Parry Archipelago, Spitzbergen and in Siberia. During the carboniferous age there was a great extent of land near the North Pole closely resembling that of the temperate latitude of the same period, as is shown by the small number of fossil plants that are peculiar to the Arctic regions. In the tertiary period miocene flora flourished in Spitzbergen, where even the lime, the juniper and poplars have been found near latitude 79 N. Then also throve sequoias, which closely resemble trees growing in the southern part of the United States. The miocene flora gives evidence of a very great contrast between the climatic conditions at that epoch between Europe and the Arctic regions.
The cretaceous flora throws important light on the changes of climate in the Arctic regions, and, as has been pointed out, the tropical forms predominate in the vegetation of the Lower Cretaceous flora. Heer's prediction that the plants found on the west coast of Spitzbergen would also be found on the East Greenland coast has been fully verified. Miocene plants have been found from Spitzbergen westward through Iceland and Greenland to Banks Land and in the Parry Archipelago, and it is interesting to note that more than one fourth of the Arctic plants are common to the miocene of Europe; in Greenland and on McKenzie the percentage is nearly one half.
In all probability, the paper which is of the highest popular interest is the account of the birds by Robert Collet and Dr. Nansen. The full notes regarding Arctic birds testify fully to the fact that the observers had in view the principal points of ornithological importance. These comprise not only a mere record of the presence or absence of certain species, but also additional observations regarding them in their Arctic habitat.
Certainly the reproach can not be brought against the expedition of the Fram, which has obtained in the case of many Arctic expeditions, that it has added nothing to ornithological Arctic data.
The account of the birds, prepared by Mr. Robert Collet, has been compiled from the various journals of the expeditionary force, supplemented by verbal comments of Hansen. The memoir contains such specific data as enable students to determine not only the general character of the avifauna as one moves northward in the Siberian ocean, but also the arrival and departure of the migrants and the presence of stragglers. Among the birds of special interest which were observed are the gray plover, the gray phalarope, the sabine gull and the cuneate or Ross's gull.
One of the greatest authorities on Arctic birds, Prof. Alfred Newton, of the University of Cambridge, has well said that in consideration of the avifauna of any country its peculiarities can be determined only by dismissing accidental stragglers from the discussion. In elucidating the great question of geographical distribution, one must confine himself to either the birds that breed therein, or to those species which regularly frequent it for a considerable portion of the year.
Considering the enormous area covered by the Fram expedition and its great diversity of physical conditions of sea and land, it was impossible to treat under a single heading the birds observed.
Pseudalibrotus Nanseni. G. O. Sars.
Mr. Collet has, therefore, been wise in dividing his notes into four sections, covering the Asiatic coast, the Siberian ocean, the sledge journey to Franz Josef Land, and the Arctic Ocean to the north of Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen. But for this division, confusion would have resulted from combining birds of regions so widely extended in longitude and latitude.
The notes show conclusively what might have been anticipated, that the avifauna of the Siberian Sea, and especially that portion of the Arctic Ocean to the north of Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen, is strictly limited.
Including the species observed during the entire voyage, there are only thirty-three recorded. Only twenty-one species pertain to the tic Ocean, whether as regular migrants or stragglers, after excluding the twelve species which were ohserved near the Asiatic coast. The presence on the shores of the Siberian Sea of some of these twelve, however, is of ornithological interest. There may be specially mentioned the gray goose (Anser segetum), long-tailed duck (Harelda glacialis), silver gull (Larus argentatus), snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca), gray plover (Squatarola helvetica) and the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus hyperboreaus).
Confining ourselves to birds observed to the north of 81° 30, attention is called to the abundant avifauna of the western as compared with the eastern hemisphere. In Kennedy Channel, Grinnell Land, there have been recorded no less than thirty-two species against twenty-one noted by the Fram in this voyage, including those seen in Franz Josef Land. This is not surprising, however, when it is considered that the drift of the Fram was across a deep ocean of large extent, which is covered perpetually by an unbroken ice-pack, unrelieved by any view of land until the north coast of Spitzbergen was seen.
Omitting the birds observed in Franz Josef Land, the paucity of species frequenting the great western Arctic Ocean is even more apparent. The striking dissimilarity of the four regions traversed by the Fram is plainly evident from the bird-life recorded. "While there were observed nine species in the Siberian Sea, fifteen in the Franz Josef Archipelago, eighteen in the Arctic Ocean and twenty-three on the Asiatic coast, yet only five were common to all four regions, viz.: the dovekie, the glaucous gull, the ivory gull, the kittiwake and the snow-bird.
The Siberian Sea presented a most limited avifauna, as in addition to the five common species, there were recorded in the first summer in the ice only the little auk, the fulmar, the roseate gull and a small skua. The entire absence of land or shore birds that frequent Arctic islands, omitting a single straggling snow-bird, indicates clearly that the Siberian Sea extends far northward unbroken by any land area.
The eighteen species of birds that were found in the Arctic Ocean, far to the north, naturally demand special comment. The six following species are doubtless stragglers: the ringed plover (Aegialitis hiaticula), 82° 59' K., the most northerly shore-bird of Spitzbergen, Nordenskiold having observed it on Seven islands, 80° 45' N.; the eider duck (Somateria mollissima), 82° 55' N., near Spitzbergen; the arctic tern (Sterna macrura), 84° 32' N.; the puffin (Fratercula arctica glacialis), 83° 11' N., near Spitzbergen; the black-backed gull ((Larus marinus), 84° 35' N. 75° E., and the Sabine gull (Xema Sabini), 83° N., near Spitzbergen.
Of other species, the roseate gull (Rhodostethia rosea), 84° 41' N., disappeared as the Fram drifted west from the longitude of Franz Josef Land, to be replaced as Spitzbergen was neared by a wader (Crymophilus fulicarius), 83° 01' N.; forked-tailed skuas (Stercorarius pomatorhinus), 82° 57' N., and Bruennich's guillemot (Uria lomvia), 83° 11' N. The glaucous gull (Larus glaucus), 84° 48' K, and long tailed skua (Stercorarius longicaudus), 84° 47' N., although seen both summers, were quite infrequent. These data indicate absence of land at any near distance to the north, and disclose the interesting fact that only the six following species, including the snow-bird who is more probably a straggler, can be classed as regular summer migrants to the
vast ice-fields which cover the Arctic Ocean to the north of Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land.
The little auk (Alle alle), 84° 48' N., was visible almost daily near the 83d parallel in great numbers during the summer season, wherever there were numerous water channels near the Fram. Of 40 birds killed at one time, only ten were females.
The dovekie (Cepphus mandti), 84° 32' N., with the little auk, was the most numerous of all birds in very high latitudes, and nearly 150 were shot for the table. Out of 40 specimens only 14 were males. The dovekie came early, May 13, 1896.
The ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) is also present the entire summer. It was the first visitor in 1895, when on May 14 it was seen in 84° 38' N., and what is of special interest, was flying from the north-northeast.
The snow hunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), although a land-bird, was seen both summers at somewhat infrequent intervals, as far as 84° 45' N. They fed on refuse near the ships, but were also seen near water-holes, and appeared to be feeding on crustaceans. Two of three specimens were males. The first specimen in 1895 visited the Fram on May 22 in 84° 40' N., and then flew towards the north. In 1896 it appeared on April 25, the first bird of the year, in 84° 17' N.
The kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) was much less numerous than the ivory gull. It was seen in 82° 54' N. They fed, as a rule, on crustaceans, although in one bird were found parts of a Gadus saida about 70 mm. in length. A Gadus about 120 mm. in length was observed on July 16, 1895, in 84° 42' N., the most northerly point at which any fish has been found.
The fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) came early in 1895, on May 13, and in 1896 on May 22. This bold, voracious bird fed on crustaceans usually, and owing to its villainous smell was utilized principally as food for dogs. The last bird of 1895, a fulmar, was seen on September 14, when the Fram was in 85° 05' N., 79° E. This is the most northern latitude in which any bird has ever been observed.
The fulmars and ivory gulls were very bold and noisy, the latter being specially objectionable. Ivory gulls were seen at the winter hut in Franz Josef Land until October, when all water had long been frozen over, and appeared again as early as March 12, 1896.
The first roseate gulls were young birds observed August 3, 1894, in 81° 05' N., 120° E., about 500 kilometres from the nearest land. A long and interesting description is given of these gulls in various stages. One of the beautiful plates, which is imperfectly reproduced, shows the plumage of a very young gull about a month old. Their food consists exclusively of small fish and crustaceans, of the latter the Hymenodora glacialis predominating. Large numbers of these beautiful gulls were seen in 1895 to the northeast of Franz Josef Land, which points to their breeding in that locality. One was seen by Nansen on July 11, 1895, in 82° 08' N., flying from the northeast.
The very full memoir on Crustacea is by Dr. G-. O. Sars, well known as one of the editorial committee of the scientific work of the Norwegian North Atlantic Expedition. As the greater number of marine vertebrate animals collected by the Norwegian North Polar Expedition belong to the Crustacea, this memoir covers the greater part of the marine collection.
The Copepoda are predominant, especially those belonging to the Calanoid group, having been taken at nearly every haul along the whole route of the Fram. The zoölogical equipment of the Fram was based unfortunately on the supposition that the Siberian basin was shallow, so that the enormous oceanic depths which were found were only inadequately explored by an extemporized sounding apparatus.
While the results of the dredging operations indicate that there was very little animal life at the bottom of the ocean, on the other hand, it appears that the entire surface of the sea, which consisted usually of small temporary openings in the ice-pack, was covered with abundant life throughout the entire year even to the most northern latitudes.
Including surface and deep-sea specimens, there were taken on October 12, 1895, no less than eleven species in latitude 85° 13' N., longitude 79° E. On June 28, 1895, in 84° 32' N., 76° E., there were taken from the surface by tow net in a large water-channel fourteen species. This indicates abundant marine life in the sea immediately near the North Pole.
The pelagic animals, therefore, were not found at the sea surface alone, but were also drawn from considerable depths. Many specimens were obtained from strata at least 250 metres below the surface, and in a number of instances from depths ranging between 500 and 1,000 metres. It is to be added that the imperfect development of the visual organs of the peculiar amphipod, Cyclocaris Guilelmi, Chevreux, points to abyssal habits, as similar conditions do in the cases of other pelagic animals.
In general pelagic fauna in the Polar Sea resembles that of the northern Atlantic basin, the greater number of species being common to both. While several heretofore unknown forms collected by this expedition may be peculiar to the polar basin, yet it is not improbable that these forms also occur in the North Atlantic. This appears probable, since the western part of the Fram's route lies on the border of the two basins, where the fauna does not differ essentially from that in the eastern part.
While the pelagic fauna of the Polar Sea, even in the lowest depths, resembles that of the Atlantic basin, the great salinity of its water clearly indicates that it comes from the North Atlantic, and it is therefore more than probable that the migration of pelagic animals to the North Polar Sea is also from the west.
Indeed, Doctor Sars is of the opinion that the greater part of the pelagic life of the north-polar basin comes by the underlying easterly current from the North Atlantic. On the other hand, it is evident that the westerly-flowing surface current of the Siberian Sea is of vital importance as a means of supplying nourishment to the marine animals of the western Arctic Ocean. This food supply, microscopic algæ chiefly Diatomeæ, while very abundant on the surface of the Siberian Sea, diminishes gradually towards the west. "Indeed," says Sars, "without such a constant conveyance of nourishing matter, there could be no such rich animal life in the Polar Sea."
A very remarkable fact was the presence of certain pelagic Copepoda, which hitherto had only been observed in southern waters, and a Calanoid of the genus Hemicalanus Claus, previously known only from the Mediterranean and tropical parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Two species of the genus Oncoea, which accord perfectly with species in the Bay of Naples, were found in great abundance north of the New Siberian Islands. Another copepod, of the genus Lubbockia Claus, heretofore only known in the Mediterranean and tropical oceans, was found in the same locality, with which was a small perfectly hyaline copepod of the very remarkable genus Mormonilla, of which heretofore only two species have been recorded, both in the tropical Pacific and south of the equator.
Perhaps the most remarkable forms are those mentioned by Doctor Sars, when he says: "The very close and apparently genetic relationship between the two polar species of the amphipodous genus Pseudalibrotos and those occurring in the Caspian Sea, is another remarkable instance which seems fully to corroborate the correctness of the assumption of geologists as to a direct connexion in olden times between this isolated basin and the North Polar Sea."
Both species, taken near 85° N., are regarded as the primitive types from which the Caspian forms are descended. The more remarkable of the Arctic forms, P. Nanseni, is reproduced on page 430.
To conclude, this volume is a most valuable contribution to the scientific literature of the Arctic regions. It has but one marked objection, its publication in such beautiful form and high price as necessarily places this series beyond the means of many scientific students.
- The Norwegian North Polar Expedition, 1893-1896. Scientific Results edited by Fridtjof Nansen. Vol. I. Longmans, Green & Co. N. Y., 1900. 1-16, 3 pl. 1-147, 3 pl 1-26, 2 pl. 1-53 pl. 1-137, 36 pl