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MEPS 599:19-34 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12645

Phases of microalgal succession in sea ice and the water column in the Baltic Sea from autumn to spring

Sara Enberg1,2,*, Markus Majaneva1,2,3, Riitta Autio4, Jaanika Blomster2, Janne-Markus Rintala1,2,5

1Tvärminne Zoological Station, University of Helsinki, J.A. Palménin tie 260, 10900 Hanko, Finland
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Natural History, NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
4Marine Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, PO Box 140, 00251 Helsinki, Finland
5INAR - Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, PO Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The phytoplankton biomass in the Baltic Sea is low during the cold-water season (October to May) compared to the warm-water season (June to September). However, the sea ice is a habitat for diverse assemblages in polar and subpolar areas. These areas, including the Baltic Sea, are subject to changing environmental conditions due to global warming, and temporal and spatial studies are required to understand changes in the processes the organisms are involved in. We delineated microalgal succession in the northern Baltic Sea during the cold-water season using a weekly collected data set. Microscopy results together with molecular methods showed that 5 microbial groups could be distinguished: the sea-ice microalgal assemblage and 4 phytoplankton assemblages (fall, winter, under-ice water and spring). Based on cell enumeration, the microalgal biomass in the water column remained low until the end of the ice-covered season and was dominated by small flagellates and dinoflagellates. The young-ice assemblage in January resembled the water-column assemblage, but indicated a partly selective species-concentrating mechanism during ice formation due to lower species richness in ice than in the water column. Biomass of microalgae increased in the ice and water column during the March to May period, and the assemblage changed from flagellate-dominated to diatom- and dinoflagellate-dominated. The result that the spring phytoplankton, based on species and biomass, formed a separate assemblage indicates that sea-ice algae did not contribute to the spring bloom phytoplankton assemblage.


KEY WORDS: Microalgae · Cold-water season · Succession · Sea ice · Baltic Sea


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Cite this article as: Enberg S, Majaneva M, Autio R, Blomster J, Rintala JM (2018) Phases of microalgal succession in sea ice and the water column in the Baltic Sea from autumn to spring. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 599:19-34. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12645

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