Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 10, pp 1479–1494 | Cite as

Description of Pyramimonas diskoicola sp. nov. and the importance of the flagellate Pyramimonas (Prasinophyceae) in Greenland sea ice during the winter–spring transition

  • Sara Harðardóttir
  • Nina Lundholm
  • Øjvind Moestrup
  • Torkel Gissel Nielsen
Original Paper


Pyramimonas Schmarda is a genus of unicellular green flagellates, recorded in marine water and sea ice samples. Pyramimonas is within the prey size range of the most important protozoan grazers in Disko Bay, West Greenland, where this study took place. Despite the potential ecological importance, little is known about the occurrence of the genus. The aim of this study was to explore the biomass of Pyramimonas in developing stages of sea ice and in the water column. Pyramimonas colonized the early stages of sea ice, and the highest percent of Pyramimonas biomass was found in grease ice. The biomass of Pyramimonas was more than a magnitude higher within sea ice compared to the surface water. The results illustrate that Pyramimonas from the ice is an important contributor to the plankton community prior to the spring bloom. An undescribed species, Pyramimonas diskoicola sp. nov., was found. Based on morphology and ultrastructure, combined with molecular phylogeny inferred from the small-subunit SSU rDNA and the large-subunit chloroplast-encoded rbcL, the species was placed in subgenus Vestigifera. The cells possessed four flagella, measured 8.3 ± 2.6 μm in length and 5.1 ± 0.8 μm in width, and were characterized by an uplifted quadrant in the center of the box scales, not seen at any other Pyramimonas species. The phylogenetic analyses indicated P. diskoicola to be closely related to other polar sea ice species of Pyramimonas.


Pyramimonas diskoicola sp. nov. Vestigifera Ultrastructure Phylogeny rbcL SSU rDNA Succession Sea ice 



We thank the Arctic Station and the scientific leader Outi Tervo for providing excellent research facilities and assistance, Abel Brand, the crew of R/V Porsild, Magnus Bohr, and Vera Kristbjargardottir for help with field work. For assistance in the laboratory, we thank Charlotte Hansen for help with the sequencing, Birgit Søborg for technical assistance at Arctic Station, Eva Friis Møller for measuring the nutrients, and Lis Munk Frederiksen for thin sectioning of the cells for EM. The reviewers Johanna Ikavälko and Helge A. Thomsen and an anonymous reviewer contributed prominently to this article. This project was financed by the Carlsberg Foundation as part of the project “Spring in Disko” to Torkel Gissel Nielsen, a FREJA stipend to Nina Lundholm, and A.P Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til Almene Formaal to Sara Harðardóttir.

Supplementary material

300_2014_1538_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Harðardóttir
    • 1
  • Nina Lundholm
    • 1
  • Øjvind Moestrup
    • 2
  • Torkel Gissel Nielsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural History Museum of DenmarkUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Marine Biological Section, Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Section for Oceanography and Climate, National Institute of Aquatic ResourcesTechnical University of DenmarkCharlottenlundDenmark

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