Microzooplankton composition in the winter sea ice of the Weddell Sea

bettina.meyer [ at ] awi.de


Sympagic microzooplankton were studied during late winter in the northern Weddell Sea for diversity, abundance and carbon biomass. Ice cores were collected on an ice floe along three dive transects and seawater was taken from under the ice through the central dive hole from which all transects were connected. The areal and vertical microzooplankton distributions in the ice and water were compared. Abundance (max. 1300 ind. l-1) and biomass (max. 28.2 μg C l-1) were high in the ice cores and low in the water below the sea ice (max. 19 ind. l-1, 0.15 μg C l-1, respectively). The highest abundances were observed in the bottom 10 cm of the ice cores. The microzooplankton community within the sea ice comprised mainly aloricate ciliates, foraminifers and micrometazoans. In winter, microzooplankton represent an important fraction of the sympagic community in the Antarctic sea ice. They can potentially control microalgal production and contribute to particulate organic carbon concentrations when released into the water column during the ice melt in spring. Continued reduction of the sea ice may undermine the roles of microzooplankton, leading to a reduction or complete loss of diversity, abundance and biomass of these sympagic protists.

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Primary Division
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Publication Status
Published online
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1017/s0954102016000717

Cite as
Monti-Birkenmeier, M. , Diociaiuti, T. , Umani, S. F. and Meyer, B. (2017): Microzooplankton composition in the winter sea ice of the Weddell Sea , Antarctic Science, 29 (4), pp. 299-310 . doi: 10.1017/s0954102016000717

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