Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 257–268 | Cite as

Phytoplankton productivity and its response to higher light levels in the Canada Basin

  • Mi Sun Yun
  • Kyung Ho Chung
  • Sarah Zimmermann
  • Jinping Zhao
  • Hyoung Min Joo
  • Sang H. Lee
Original Paper


Phytoplankton productivity in the Canada Basin was measured in the late summer season, from mid-September to mid-October 2009, using a 13C–15N dual tracer technique. To understand potential production changes associated with sea ice melting in the Arctic Ocean, we examined the effects of light enhancement and nitrate enrichment on the carbon productivity of phytoplankton from the chlorophyll a maximum layer. The daily carbon productivity in the Canada Basin in 2009 was very low, with a mean of 4.1 mg C m−2 (SD = 3.6 mg C m−2), compared with those reported in previous studies in the region. Among several explanations, the most plausible reason for the large difference in carbon productivity between this and the previous studies was strong seasonal variation in biomass and photosynthetic rate of the phytoplankton in the study region. Based on our results from light enhancement and nitrate enrichment experiments, we found that carbon productivity of phytoplankton in the chlorophyll a maximum layer could be stimulated by increased light condition rather than nitrate addition. Thus, potentially increasing light availability from current and ongoing decreases in the sea ice cover could increase the carbon production of the phytoplankton in the chlorophyll a maximum layer and produce a well-developed maximum layer at a deeper depth in the Canada Basin.


Primary productivity Phytoplankton Canada Basin Chlorophyll a maximum layer Arctic Ocean Sea ice 



We thank the captain and crew of the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent for their outstanding assistance during the cruise. We also thank Dr. Kazutaka Tateyama for providing the sea ice data. We very much appreciate the constructive comments by three anonymous reviewers, which greatly improved the earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the Polar Academic Program (PAP) and the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI; PM10040).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mi Sun Yun
    • 1
  • Kyung Ho Chung
    • 1
  • Sarah Zimmermann
    • 2
  • Jinping Zhao
    • 3
  • Hyoung Min Joo
    • 1
  • Sang H. Lee
    • 4
  1. 1.Korea Polar Research InstituteIncheonKorea
  2. 2.Institute of Ocean SciencesSidneyCanada
  3. 3.Ocean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Department of Marine SciencePusan National UniversityBusanKorea

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