The seeding of ice algal blooms in Arctic pack ice: The multiyear ice seed repository hypothesis

Ilka.Peeken [ at ]


During the Norwegian young sea ICE expedition (N-ICE2015) from January to June 2015 the pack ice in the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard was studied during four drifts between 83° and 80°N. This pack ice consisted of a mix of second year, first year, and young ice. The physical properties and ice algal community composition was investigated in the three different ice types during the winter-spring-summer transition. Our results indicate that algae remaining in sea ice that survived the summer melt season are subsequently trapped in the upper layers of the ice column during winter and may function as an algal seed repository. Once the connectivity in the entire ice column is established, as a result of temperature-driven increase in ice porosity during spring, algae in the upper parts of the ice are able to migrate toward the bottom and initiate the ice algal spring bloom. Furthermore, this algal repository might seed the bloom in younger ice formed in adjacent leads. This mechanism was studied in detail for the dominant ice diatom Nitzschia frigida. The proposed seeding mechanism may be compromised due to the disappearance of older ice in the anticipated regime shift toward a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean.

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DOI 10.1002/2016JG003668.

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Olsen, L. M. , Laney, S. , Duarte, C. , Kauko, H. M. , Fernández-Méndez, M. , Mundy, C. J. , Rösel, A. , Meyer, A. , Itkin, P. , Cohen, L. , Peeken, I. , Tatarek, A. , Róźańska-Pluta, M. , Wiktor, J. , Taskjelle, T. , Pavlov, A. K. , Hudson, S. R. , Granskog, M. A. , Hop, H. and Assmy, P. (2017): The seeding of ice algal blooms in Arctic pack ice: The multiyear ice seed repository hypothesis , Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences . doi: 10.1002/2016JG003668.

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