Polar Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 1857–1868 | Cite as

Temporal and vertical variations of lipid biomarkers during a bottom ice diatom bloom in the Canadian Beaufort Sea: further evidence for the use of the IP25 biomarker as a proxy for spring Arctic sea ice

  • Thomas A. BrownEmail author
  • Simon T. Belt
  • Benoît Philippe
  • Christopher J. Mundy
  • Guillaume Massé
  • Michel Poulin
  • Michel Gosselin
Original Paper


Variations in the concentrations of the sea ice diatom biomarker, IP25 (Ice Proxy with 25 carbon atoms), were measured in the bottom 10 cm of sea ice collected from the eastern Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf from January to June 2008, as part of the International Polar Year–Circumpolar Flaw Lead system study. Temporal and vertical changes in IP25 concentrations were compared against other biomarkers and indicators of ice algal production. IP25 was not detected in sea ice samples collected from mid-winter to early spring, likely as a result of light-limiting conditions for algal growth and accumulation. From early March to mid-June, IP25 concentrations correlated well with those of fatty acids (r = 0.79; P < 0.001), less so with total sterols (r = 0.63; P < 0.001) and qualitatively with chlorophyll a concentrations and diatom cell abundances from adjacent sea ice cores. Approximately 90% of the total sea ice IP25 accumulation occurred from mid-March to late-May, coincident with the ice algal bloom period. The majority (ca. 87–93%) of IP25 was biosynthesised within the lower 5 cm of the sea ice where brine volume fractions were >5% which is consistent with the hypothesis that brine channel connectivity limits the internal colonisation of sea ice by diatoms. Maximum IP25 concentrations occurred at 1–3 cm from the ice–water interface providing further evidence for a selective sea ice diatom origin for this biomarker. In contrast, vertical concentration profiles for fatty acids and sterols indicated mixed sources for these biomarkers.


IP25 Arctic Sea ice Diatom Bloom Biomarker 



We thank the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, UK) for funding part of this work (NE/D013216/1, LSMSBRIS026_04/08) and for providing a PhD studentship to T.B. (NE/F007043/1). This work was also supported through grants from the Canadian International Polar Year–Federal government program office and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada to M.G. and M.P., and financial help from the Canadian Museum of Nature to M.P. Partial operating funds for the CCGS Amundsen were provided by the International Joint Ventures Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche Sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT). We would like to extend our gratitude to the officers and crew of the CCGS Amundsen for their invaluable support during the expeditions. We are also particularly grateful to Dr. J.-É. Tremblay and S. Pineault from the Université Laval (Canada) for providing us with filtered sea ice samples for the period 12 April to 8 May 2008 and to Andrea and Greg Niemi and C Michel for collection of early sea ice samples. We thank Dr. I. Bull and J. Williams from the University of Bristol NERC LSMSF facility for analyses of stable carbon isotopes by GC–IRM–MS. This work is a contribution to the International Polar Year-Circumpolar Flaw Lead system study (IPY-CFL). We thank three anonymous reviewers for providing helpful suggestions to improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • Simon T. Belt
    • 1
  • Benoît Philippe
    • 2
  • Christopher J. Mundy
    • 2
  • Guillaume Massé
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michel Poulin
    • 4
  • Michel Gosselin
    • 2
  1. 1.Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PlymouthPlymouth, DevonUK
  2. 2.Institut des sciences de la mer (ISMER)Université du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada
  3. 3.Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, L’OCEANPlace Jussieu, ParisFrance
  4. 4.Research DivisionCanadian Museum of NatureOttawaCanada

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