Benthic response to ice-edge-induced particle flux in the Arctic Ocean
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- Schewe, I. & Soltwedel, T. Polar Biol (2003) 26: 610. doi:10.1007/s00300-003-0526-8
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With the aims of investigating the response of the smallest benthic biota to a strong ice-edge-related input of phytodetritus, and of registering supposed lateral transportation processes of phytodetrital matter with northerly direction under the ice, we analysed a number of abiotic and biotic parameters in surface sediments from the northern Fram Strait. Two transects of 14 stations in total were made. One transect, crossing the Fram Strait from the east to the west, followed mainly the ice edge. The second transect extended latitudinally in a northerly direction, starting in ice-free areas, passing the ice edge, and ending in heavy ice-covered areas, approximately 100 nm north of the ice edge. Stations along this transect were sampled at almost constant water depths to avoid depth-related influences in our investigations. Results showed the expected high phytodetritus concentrations in the ice-edge vicinity. Concentrations of sediment-bound plant pigments were approximately 5 times higher than in ice-covered areas, indicating a very strong phytodetritus input. With increasing distance from the highly productive areas at the ice edge, we found significantly decreasing concentrations of phytodetrital input to the seafloor in a northerly direction. Within the foraminiferans, generic diversity was clearly reduced in the area of strong phytodetritus deposition. Along the latitudinal transect, out of the direct ice-edge influence, foraminiferal diversities slowly increased within increasing distance from the ice edge. The integration of results from earlier foraminiferal investigations, from stations further to the north, indicates a once more decreasing diversity with continually decreasing food supply.