The importance of ice algae-produced carbon in the central Arctic Ocean ecosystem: Food web relationships revealed by lipid and stable isotope analyses


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doreen.kohlbach [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

To better predict ecological consequences of changing Arctic sea ice environments, we aimed to quantify the contribution of ice algae-produced carbon (αIce) to pelagic food webs in the central Arctic Ocean. Eight abundant under-ice fauna species were submitted to fatty acid (FA) analysis, bulk stable isotope analysis (BSIA) of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) isotopic ratios, and compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) of δ13C in trophic marker FAs. A high mean contribution αIce was found in Apherusa glacialis and other sympagic (ice-associated) amphipods (BSIA: 87% to 91%, CSIA: 58% to 92%). The pelagic copepods Calanus glacialis and C. hyperboreus, and the pelagic amphipod Themisto libellula showed substantial, but varying αIce values (BSIA: 39% to 55%, CSIA: 23% to 48%). Lowest αIce mean values were found in the pteropod Clione limacina (BSIA: 30%, CSIA: 14% to 18%). Intra-specific differences in FA compositions related to two different environmental regimes were more pronounced in pelagic than in sympagic species. A comparison of mixing models using different isotopic approaches indicated that a model using δ13C signatures from both diatom-specific and dinoflagellate-specific marker FAs provided the most conservative estimate of αIce. Our results imply that ecological key species of the central Arctic Ocean thrive significantly on carbon synthesized by ice algae. Due to the close connectivity between sea ice and the pelagic food web, changes in sea ice coverage and ice algal production will likely have important consequences for food web functioning and carbon dynamics of the pelagic system.



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Peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
41226
DOI 10.1002/lno.10351

Cite as
Kohlbach, D. , Graeve, M. , Lange, B. , David, C. , Peeken, I. and Flores, H. (2016): The importance of ice algae-produced carbon in the central Arctic Ocean ecosystem: Food web relationships revealed by lipid and stable isotope analyses , Limnology & Oceanography . doi: 10.1002/lno.10351


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