Characterizing Spatial Variability of Ice Algal Chlorophyll a and Net Primary Production between Sea Ice Habitats Using Horizontal Profiling Platforms


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Marcel.Nicolaus [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Assessing the role of sea ice algal biomass and primary production for polar ecosystems remains challenging due to the strong spatio-temporal variability of sea ice algae. Therefore, the spatial representativeness of sea ice algal biomass and primary production sampling remains a key issue in large-scale models and climate change predictions of polar ecosystems. To address this issue, we presented two novel approaches to up-scale ice algal chl a biomass and net primary production (NPP) estimates based on profiles covering distances of 100 to 1,000 s of meters. This was accomplished by combining ice core-based methods with horizontal under-ice spectral radiation profiling conducted in the central Arctic Ocean during summer 2012. We conducted a multi-scale comparison of ice-core based ice algal chl a biomass with two profiling platforms: a remotely operated vehicle and surface and under ice trawl (SUIT). NPP estimates were compared between ice cores and remotely operated vehicle surveys. Our results showed that ice core-based estimates of ice algal chl a biomass and NPP do not representatively capture the spatial variability compared to the remotely operated vehicle-based estimates, implying considerable uncertainties for pan-Arctic estimates based on ice core observations alone. Grouping sea ice cores based on region or ice type improved the representativeness. With only a small sample size, however, a high risk of obtaining non-representative estimates remains. Sea ice algal chl a biomass estimates based on the dominant ice class alone showed a better agreement between ice core and remotely operated vehicle estimates. Grouping ice core measurements yielded no improvement in NPP estimates, highlighting the importance of accounting for the spatial variability of both the chl a biomass and bottom-ice light in order to get representative estimates. Profile-based measurements of ice algae chl a biomass identified sea ice ridges as an underappreciated component of the Arctic ecosystem because chl a biomass was significantly greater in this unique habitat. Sea ice ridges are not easily captured with ice coring methods and thus require more attention in future studies. Based on our results, we provide recommendations for designing an efficient and effective sea ice algal sampling program for the summer season.



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Published
Eprint ID
46180
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2017.00349

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Lange, B. A. , Katlein, C. , Castellani, G. , Fernández-Méndez, M. , Nicolaus, M. , Peeken, I. and Flores, H. (2017): Characterizing Spatial Variability of Ice Algal Chlorophyll a and Net Primary Production between Sea Ice Habitats Using Horizontal Profiling Platforms , Frontiers in Marine Science, 4 (349), pp. 1-23 . doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00349


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