AME 28:257-265 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/ame028257

Seasonal changes in microbial biomass in the first-year ice of the Terre Adélie area (Antarctica)

Daniel Delille1,*, Michel Fiala1, Jorma Kuparinen2, Harri Kuosa2, Charles Plessis1

1Observatoire Océanologique, Université P. et M. Curie, UMR-CNRS 7621, 66651 Banyuls-sur-mer cedex, France
2Finnish Institute of Marine Research, POB 33, 00931 Helsinki, Finland

ABSTRACT: The coastal sea ice in the vicinity of Dumont d¹Urville station, Antarctica (66°40¹S, 140°01¹E) supports a diverse microbial community. To investigate seasonal changes in bacterial, microalgal and protozoan biomass during the ice-coverage period, a survey was conducted on fast ice in the continental shelf of Terre Adélie. A reference station was sampled twice a month from April to December 1997. In April and May, during sea ice formation, the autotrophic biomass reached relatively high levels ranging from 400 to 800 mgC m-3 in the subsurface ice. A second increase reaching 1500 mgC m-3 in mid-December occurred in early summer in the bottom ice layer. Bacterial biomass ranged from <10 mgC m-3 in August and September to >200 mgC m-3 in May. Maximal levels of bacterial biomass were detected during ice formation and just before the summer thaw. Total protozoan biomass increased from May to July. Maximum protozoan biomass (31.8 mgC m-3) occurred in the surface ice layer in July. Except for during a short period (late May to early June), ciliates were dominant, accounting for 50 to 77% of the total protozoan biomass. During the ice-covered period, phototrophic biomass was always dominant. Microalgal biomass contributed on average 80.6% of total biomass whereas bacterial and protozoan biomass accounted for only 16.4 and 3%, respectively. Despite their low biomass, protozoa seem to play a major role in bacterial regulation.

KEY WORDS: Antarctica · Sea ice · Protozoa · Bacteria · Ice algae

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