Timing of Ice Algal Grazing by the Arctic Nearshore Benthic Amphipod <i>Onisimus litoralis</i>

  • Rolf Gradinger
  • Bodil Bluhm
Keywords: Arctic, sea ice, Barrow, fast ice, amphipods, Onisimus litoralis, ice algae, diatoms


Sea ice algae have been widely discussed as a potential food source for pelagic and benthic animals in ice-covered waters, specifically in the light of current substantial changes in the Arctic ice regime. Stomach and gut contents of the Arctic nearshore lysianassid amphipod Onisimus litoralissampled from February to May 2003 indicate that Arctic ice algae were dominant food no earlier than the onset of ice melt. Crustaceans, common prey in a previous study, were absent in stomachs and guts during the survey period. Our data support the concept that sea ice-derived organic carbon is of specific relevance for Arctic plankton and benthos during the period of ice melt.