Data pertaining to environmental conditions, sympagic (sea ice) microalgal dynamics and particle flux were collected before the spring ice break-up 2001 in Pierre Lejay Bay, adjacent to the Dumont d'Urville Station, Petrel Island, East Antarctica. An array of two multiple sediment traps and a current meter was deployed for five weeks, from 8 November to 6 December 2001. The sea-ice chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon (POC) averaged 0.6 mg l−1 (30 mg m−2) and 20 mg l−1 (1 g m−2) near the coast. The POC export flux that reached a maximum of 79 mg m−2 d−1 during the study period was high compared to the one for the Weddell Sea. The flux was homogeneous from the surface to 47 m depth and increased sharply 33 days before the effective ice break-up. A north-western progressive vector of currents (i.e., Lagrangian drift) in the sub-ice surface waters was demonstrated. Bottom ice, platelet ice and under-ice water at 5 m were characterized by differences in colonization and short-term succession of microalgae.