Polar Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 806–818 | Cite as

High number of diatom species in first-year ice from the Chukchi Sea

  • Cecilie H. von Quillfeldt
  • William G. AmbroseJr.
  • Lisa M. Clough
Original Paper


Our study describes the species composition of microalgae, primarily diatoms, in two ice cores collected from the Chukchi Sea in early June 1998. At least 251 species were present in 2 cores collected 10 m apart in first-year ice. This is a greater number of algal species in ice from one locality than has been recorded from any other area of the Arctic. Microalgae were distributed throughout the 173-cm-long core, but abundance and species composition varied among different sections of the core, with maximum species richness (108 and 103 species in the 94- to 103- and 103- to 113-cm sections, respectively) occurring in the middle sections. More than 237 species were recorded from this core. Only the bottom 20 cm of the shorter (110 cm) core was analysed and it contained 135 algal species, still an extraordinarily high number of species. Marine species dominated both cores, but typical brackish and freshwater species were also present. None of these species, however, had more than 1% relative abundance. It should be noted, though, that there were several distinct, but unidentified, species of unknown origin. Characteristic ice algal species (e.g. Nitzschia frigida, Navicula pelagica, solitary Navicula spp., in addition to Cylindrotheca closterium) were the numerical dominants in most sections of the long core, but phytoplankton and benthic species were quite abundant in some sections. One section was dominated by a blue-green bacterium, presumably of the genus Anabaena. The species composition is consistent with several different mechanisms for algal incorporation into ice (i.e. seawater filtration ice, seeding from the sea floor, freshwater input). Over time, ice dynamics and sources of ice in the Chukchi Sea appear to result in high numbers of algal species in the ice. It is also likely that season of collection contributed to the high number of species observed. Determining the geographical area of origin for the different species is however difficult, due to the large-scale pattern of ice circulation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilie H. von Quillfeldt
    • 1
  • William G. AmbroseJr.
    • 2
  • Lisa M. Clough
    • 3
  1. 1.The Polar Environmental CentreNorwegian Polar InstituteTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentBates CollegeLewistonUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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