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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 436 - Feature article
The melting bottom of a sea ice core reveals a network of extracellular polymeric substances to which ice algae are attached. Image: Andrew R. Juhl

Juhl AR, Krembs C, Meiners KM


Seasonal development and differential retention of ice algae and other organic fractions in first-year Arctic sea ice


Allochthonous and autochthonous organic matter builds up in seasonal Arctic sea ice, and is eventually released to the underlying water column. Juhl and colleagues tracked the temporal evolution of organic matter pools in land-fast sea ice near Barrow, Alaska. When most ice algae were lost from the ice (in as little as 5 days), other particulate and dissolved organic pools were retained. For example, extracellular polymeric substances produced by ice algae had a higher affinity for ice than the algae themselves. The flux of organic material from seasonal sea ice, which then becomes available for pelagic and benthic consumers, may occur in predictable phases, beginning with the algae, with the majority of the flux occurring after ice algae are lost.


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