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Phytoplankton blooms beneath the sea ice in the Chukchi Sea

Phytoplankton blooms beneath the sea ice in the Chukchi Sea
Phytoplankton blooms beneath the sea ice in the Chukchi Sea
In the Arctic Ocean, phytoplankton blooms on continental shelves are often limited by light availability, and are therefore thought to be restricted to waters free of sea ice. During July 2011 in the Chukchi Sea, a large phytoplankton bloom was observed beneath fully consolidated pack ice and extended from the ice edge to >100 km into the pack. The bloom was composed primarily of diatoms, with biomass reaching 1291 mg chlorophyll a m?2 and rates of carbon fixation as high as 3.7 g C m?2 d?1. Although the sea ice where the bloom was observed was near 100% concentration and 0.8–1.2 m thick, 30–40% of its surface was covered by melt ponds that transmitted 4-fold more light than adjacent areas of bare ice, providing sufficient light for phytoplankton to bloom. Phytoplankton growth rates associated with the under-ice bloom averaged 0.9 d?1 and were as high as 1.6 d?1. We argue that a thinning sea ice cover with more numerous melt ponds over the past decade has enhanced light penetration through the sea ice into the upper water column, favoring the development of these blooms. These observations, coupled with additional biogeochemical evidence, suggest that phytoplankton blooms are currently widespread on nutrient-rich Arctic continental shelves and that satellite-based estimates of annual primary production in waters where under-ice blooms develop are ~10-fold too low. These massive phytoplankton blooms represent a marked shift in our understanding of Arctic marine ecosystems.
Arctic, Sea ice, Phytoplankton
0967-0645
1-16
Arrigo, Kevin R.
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Perovich, Donald K.
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Pickart, Robert S.
b6de3ebc-eed2-478d-a367-69798bf3f504
Brown, Zachary W.
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van Dijken, Gert L.
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Lowry, Kate E.
cf9d9ed4-3fe3-4b37-b6ab-cdb1d6cefe51
Mills, Matthew M.
eecbae85-0ebf-4d17-beb6-84b8862e7cf9
Palmer, Molly A.
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Balch, William M.
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Bates, Nicholas R.
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Benitez-Nelson, Claudia R.
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Brownlee, Emily
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Frey, Karen E.
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Laney, Samuel R.
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Mathis, Jeremy
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Matsuoka, Atsushi
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Greg Mitchell, B.
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Moore, G.W.K.
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Reynolds, Rick A.
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Sosik, Heidi M.
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Swift, James H.
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Arrigo, Kevin R.
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Perovich, Donald K.
aceb83b5-3a05-4fbe-87e5-0b7daa457510
Pickart, Robert S.
b6de3ebc-eed2-478d-a367-69798bf3f504
Brown, Zachary W.
2fe4b889-094b-4e2d-b854-5604eeca2224
van Dijken, Gert L.
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Lowry, Kate E.
cf9d9ed4-3fe3-4b37-b6ab-cdb1d6cefe51
Mills, Matthew M.
eecbae85-0ebf-4d17-beb6-84b8862e7cf9
Palmer, Molly A.
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Balch, William M.
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Bates, Nicholas R.
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Benitez-Nelson, Claudia R.
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Brownlee, Emily
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Frey, Karen E.
78d23a2c-2ab8-4a57-bb1a-eb4723211b19
Laney, Samuel R.
3d175a54-d9bb-435f-bcfc-8c29856f0e3a
Mathis, Jeremy
ed1e6aec-3b16-4b9a-bfef-025e14618750
Matsuoka, Atsushi
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Greg Mitchell, B.
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Moore, G.W.K.
08fa42a5-b2fc-4280-a476-698b164b163e
Reynolds, Rick A.
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Sosik, Heidi M.
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Swift, James H.
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Arrigo, Kevin R., Perovich, Donald K., Pickart, Robert S., Brown, Zachary W., van Dijken, Gert L., Lowry, Kate E., Mills, Matthew M., Palmer, Molly A., Balch, William M., Bates, Nicholas R., Benitez-Nelson, Claudia R., Brownlee, Emily, Frey, Karen E., Laney, Samuel R., Mathis, Jeremy, Matsuoka, Atsushi, Greg Mitchell, B., Moore, G.W.K., Reynolds, Rick A., Sosik, Heidi M. and Swift, James H. (2014) Phytoplankton blooms beneath the sea ice in the Chukchi Sea. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 105, 1-16. (doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.03.018).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In the Arctic Ocean, phytoplankton blooms on continental shelves are often limited by light availability, and are therefore thought to be restricted to waters free of sea ice. During July 2011 in the Chukchi Sea, a large phytoplankton bloom was observed beneath fully consolidated pack ice and extended from the ice edge to >100 km into the pack. The bloom was composed primarily of diatoms, with biomass reaching 1291 mg chlorophyll a m?2 and rates of carbon fixation as high as 3.7 g C m?2 d?1. Although the sea ice where the bloom was observed was near 100% concentration and 0.8–1.2 m thick, 30–40% of its surface was covered by melt ponds that transmitted 4-fold more light than adjacent areas of bare ice, providing sufficient light for phytoplankton to bloom. Phytoplankton growth rates associated with the under-ice bloom averaged 0.9 d?1 and were as high as 1.6 d?1. We argue that a thinning sea ice cover with more numerous melt ponds over the past decade has enhanced light penetration through the sea ice into the upper water column, favoring the development of these blooms. These observations, coupled with additional biogeochemical evidence, suggest that phytoplankton blooms are currently widespread on nutrient-rich Arctic continental shelves and that satellite-based estimates of annual primary production in waters where under-ice blooms develop are ~10-fold too low. These massive phytoplankton blooms represent a marked shift in our understanding of Arctic marine ecosystems.

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Published date: July 2014
Keywords: Arctic, Sea ice, Phytoplankton
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

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Local EPrints ID: 367201
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367201
ISSN: 0967-0645
PURE UUID: b67d3cba-f4ef-499b-be06-aceb089626cf

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Date deposited: 23 Jul 2014 15:44
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 20:59

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Contributors

Author: Kevin R. Arrigo
Author: Donald K. Perovich
Author: Robert S. Pickart
Author: Zachary W. Brown
Author: Gert L. van Dijken
Author: Kate E. Lowry
Author: Matthew M. Mills
Author: Molly A. Palmer
Author: William M. Balch
Author: Claudia R. Benitez-Nelson
Author: Emily Brownlee
Author: Karen E. Frey
Author: Samuel R. Laney
Author: Jeremy Mathis
Author: Atsushi Matsuoka
Author: B. Greg Mitchell
Author: G.W.K. Moore
Author: Rick A. Reynolds
Author: Heidi M. Sosik
Author: James H. Swift

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