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Lannuzel et al., 2013.pdf (776.86 kB)

Effect of melting Antarctic sea ice on the fate of microbial communities studied in microcosms

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posted on 2023-05-17, 19:33 authored by Delphine LannuzelDelphine Lannuzel, Schoemann, V, Dumont, I, Content, M, de Jong, J, Tison, JL, Delille, B, Becquevort, S
Although algal growth in the iron-deficient Southern Ocean surface waters is generally low, there is considerable evidence that winter sea ice contains high amounts of iron and organicmatter leading to ice-edge blooms during austral spring. We used field observations and shipbased microcosm experiments to study the effect of the seeding by sea ice microorganisms, and the fertilization by organic matter and iron on the planktonic community at the onset of spring/summer in the Weddell Sea. Pack ice was a major source of autotrophs resulting in a ninefold to 27-fold increase in the sea ice-fertilized seawater microcosm compared to the ice-free seawater microcosm. However, heterotrophs were released in lower numbers (only a 2- to 6-fold increase). Pack ice was also an important source of dissolved organic matter for the planktonic community. Small algae (\10 lm) and bacteria released frommelting sea icewere able to thrive in seawater. Field observations show that the supply of iron from melting sea ice had occurred well before our arrival onsite, and the supply of iron to the microcosms was therefore low. We finally ran a ‘‘sequential melting’’ experiment to monitor the release of ice constituents in seawater. Brine drainage occurred first and was associated with the release of dissolved elements (salts, dissolved organic carbon and dissolved iron). Particulate organic carbon and particulate iron were released with low-salinity waters at a later stage.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Polar Biology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



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