Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 1589–1606 | Cite as

Description of diatoms from the Southwest to West Greenland coastal and open marine waters

  • Diana W. KrawczykEmail author
  • Andrzej Witkowski
  • Joanna J. Waniek
  • Marcin Wroniecki
  • Jan Harff
Original Paper


Detailed studies on sub-Arctic and Arctic marine diatom assemblages contribute to the understanding of spatial distribution patterns and their physical drivers. In this study, diatom species were analyzed from water samples collected with a Niskin bottle rosette combined with a CTD along the West Greenland coast (63°58′N–71°08′N and 50°49′W–59°06′W) during summer 2007. Diatom community was represented mainly by three genera Thalassiosira, Fragilariopsis, and Chaetoceros and linked to observed hydrographic and environmental conditions. Thalassiosira spp. were common in coastal waters (particularly Godthåbsfjord) and linked to increased surface water temperature, typical of summer water stratification in West Greenland. Fragilariopsis spp., along with other dominant species associated with higher geographic latitudes, dominated in Arctic fjords (Uummannaq Fjord-Qaumarujuk Fjord). These species generally characterized coastal waters influenced by melting sea ice and/or glacial ice. Chaetoceros spp. were linked to more saline open marine waters, particularly in the Davis Strait south of 70°N, probably corresponding to weaker water stratification and the influence of the West Greenland Current. The present paper provides new knowledge on diatom assemblages along a south–north climate gradient in West Greenland, which is necessary in order to understand how observed ocean-climate changes influence Arctic marine ecosystems. This study provides a reference for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions using diatom microfossils deposited in the West Greenland marine sediments.


Diatoms West Greenland Hydrographic conditions Summer water stratification West Greenland Current 



The authors wish to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for funding the ‘Disco Climate’ project (MO 1422/2-1). We also acknowledge helpful information provided by participants of the 2007 R/V Maria S. Merian cruise to West Greenland waters in the framework of ‘Disko Climate’ project, in particular Dr. Anton Kuijpers (GEUS) and Dr. Matthias Moros (IOW). The authors also thank the Narodowe Centrum Nauki (NCN) for financial support to the West-East Greenland project (No. DEC-2011/03/N/ST10/05794). We thank the Danish Technical University (DTU-Space) and Danish Meteorological Institute for contributing with the AMRS images. We also wish to express our gratitude to Manfred Ruppel at Frankfurt University for providing detailed SEM pictures of difficult species. We also acknowledge helpful discussions with Dr. Thomas Juul-Pedersen (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources). We wish to thank three anonymous reviewers for constructive comments and Professor Kevin McCartney and Oversættelsescentret for language improvement.

Supplementary material

300_2014_1546_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
List of all diatom species identified in the present study (XLSX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana W. Krawczyk
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andrzej Witkowski
    • 2
  • Joanna J. Waniek
    • 3
  • Marcin Wroniecki
    • 2
  • Jan Harff
    • 2
  1. 1.Greenland Climate Research CentreGreenland Institute of Natural ResourcesNuukGreenland
  2. 2.Palaeoceanology Unit, Faculty of GeosciencesUniversity of SzczecinSzczecinPoland
  3. 3.Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, WarnemündeRostockGermany

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