Evidence for a pan-Arctic sea-ice diatom diet in Strongylocentrotus spp
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- Brown, T.A., Belt, S.T. & Piepenburg, D. Polar Biol (2012) 35: 1281. doi:10.1007/s00300-012-1164-9
The Arctic marine food web is based on organic matter produced by both phytoplankton and sea-ice algae. With the decline of Arctic sea ice, the sustained availability of organic carbon of sea-ice origin is unclear. Recently, the detection of the sea-ice diatom biomarker IP25 in a range of Arctic benthic macrofauna indicated that this is a highly suitable biomarker for the identification of organic carbon derived from sea-ice primary production in Arctic food webs. However, the data presented previously were restricted to a single geographical region in the Canadian Arctic. Here, we show that IP25 is present in sea urchins of the genus Strongylocentrotus collected from ten locations with seasonal sea-ice cover from the Canadian Archipelago, Greenland and Spitsbergen. In contrast, IP25 was not found in specimens of Echinus esculentus collected from the southwest UK, where sea ice is absent. Our findings provide evidence that the presence of IP25 in macrobenthic organisms can be used across different Arctic regions as a versatile indicator of a diet containing carbon of sea-ice origin.