, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 351-357

Heterotrophic activity and bacterial productivity in assemblages of microbes from sea ice in the high Arctic

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Heterotrophic activity in the bottom few cm of annual sea ice in the Canadian Arctic was measured throughout the spring bloom of ice algae, using tritium-labelled thymidine and glucose. Experiments with chloramphenicol and cyclohexamide indicated that thymidine assimilation was due to procaryotic microbes but that about half of the glucose assimilation was due to eucaryotic organisms. Glucose and thymidine assimilation rates increased with salinity, from 10 ppt to 30 ppt. Thymidine assimilation rates increased from 1.16 to 4.94·10−21mol·cell−1·h−1 during the latter half of the algal bloom, while the exponential growth rate of the in situ populations decreased from 0.058 to 0.025 d−1. Bacterial production and specific growth rates calculated from thymidine assimilation were 149mgC·m−2 and 0.25 d−1 or less respectively over the 50 day observation period, compared with net primary production of 5,500 mgC·m−2. Thymidine assimilation rates suggested that about half of the bacterial production may be consumed or lost from the ice during the bloom.