Laptev Sea

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The shore of the Anabar Bay.

The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands.[1][2] Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape and ends at the Anisiy Cape. The Kara Sea is to the west, the East Siberian Sea to the east.

The sea is named after the Russian explorers Dmitry Laptev and Khariton Laptev. The sea has a severe climate with temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) over more than 9 months per year. There is low water salinity. There are few flora, fauna and humans. Most of the seas is less than 50 meters deep. It is frozen most of the time, though generally clear in August and September.

The sea shores were lived on for thousands of years by tribes of Yukaghirs and then Evens and Evenks. They were then settled by Yakuts and later by Russians. Russian explorations of the area started in the 17th century. They came from the south by several large rivers which empty into the sea. These rivers include the Lena River, the Khatanga, the Anabar, the Olenyok, the Omoloy and the Yana. The sea has several dozen islands, many have well-preserved mammoth remains.

The largest town and port is Tiksi.

Flora and fauna[change | change source]

Both flora and fauna are scarce because of the harsh climate. Vegetation of the sea is mostly represented by diatoms, with more than 100 species. The number of green algae, blue-green algae and flagellate species is about 10 each. The phytoplankton is characteristic of brackish waters.[3] There are about 30 species of zooplankton.[4] The coastal flora mainly is mosses and lichens and a few flowering plants including arctic poppy, Saxifraga, Draba and small populations of polar (Salix polaris) and creeping (Salicaceae) willows.[5] Rare vascular plants include species of Cerastium and Saxifraga. Non-vascular plants include the moss genera Detrichum, Dicranum, Pogonatum, Sanionia, Bryum, Orthothecium and Tortura, as well as the lichen genera Cetraria, Thamnolia, Cornicularia, Lecidea, Ochrolechia and Parmelia.[6]

Permanent mammal species include ringed seal, bearded seal, Harp Seal, walrus, collared lemming, Arctic fox,[7] reindeer, wolf, ermine, Arctic hare and polar bear. The beluga whale visits the region seasonally.[8] There are several dozens species of birds. Some belong to permanent (tundra) species, such as snow bunting, purple sandpiper, Snowy Owl and brent goose. Others make large colonies on the islands and sea shores. These include little auk, Black-legged Kittiwake, black guillemot, ivory gull, uria, charadriiformes and glaucous gull. Other bird species are skua, sterna, Northern Fulmar, Ivory Gull, Glaucous Gull, Ross's Gull, Long-tailed Duck, eider, loon and Willow Grouse.[5][9] There are 39 fish species, mostly typical of braskish environment.[3] The major ones are grayling and Coregonus (whitefishes), such as muksun, broad whitefish and omul. Also common are sardine, Arctic cisco, Bering cisco, polar smelt, saffron cod, polar cod, flounder and arctic char and inconnu.[1]

In 1985, the Ust-Lena Nature Reserve was formed in the delta of the Lena River. It has an area of 14,300 km². In 1986, New Siberian Islands were included into the reserve. The reserve has many plants (402 species), fishes (32 species), birds (109 species) and mammals (33 species).[10]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Laptev Sea, Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian)
  2. Laptev Sea, Encyclopædia Britannica on-line
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arnoldus Schytte Blix (2005) Arctic animals and their adaptations to life on the edge, ISBN 82-519-2050-7 pp. 57–58
  4. Ecological assessment of pollution in the Russian Arctic region, Global International Waters Assessment Final Report
  5. 5.0 5.1 Северная Земля. Часть II (Severnaya Zemlyua, part 2, in Russian)
  6. Manfred Bolter and Hiroshi Kanda (1997). "Preliminary results of botanical and microbiological investigations on Severnaya Zemlya 1995". Proc. NIPR Symp. Polar Biol. 10: 169–178. http://polaris.nipr.ac.jp/~penguin/polarbiosci/issues/pdf/1997-Bolter.pdf.
  7. S. Heileman and I. Belkin Laptev Sea: LME #56, in Sherman, K. and Hempel, G. (Editors) 2008. The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report
  8. Список видов морских млекопитающих, встречающихся в море Лаптевых
  9. Bird Observations in Severnaya Zemlya, Siberia. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  10. Усть-Ленский государственный природный заповедник (official we site)

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Laptev Sea at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 76°N 125°E / 76°N 125°E / 76; 125