The Sea Ice Fauna of Frobisher Bay Arctic Canada


  • E.H. Grainger
  • A.A. Mohammed
  • J.E. Lovrity



Benthos, Food chain, Marine fauna, Predation, Sea ice ecology, Frobisher Bay, Nunavut


The fauna of the lower few centimetres of the sea ice in Frobisher Bay, Arctic Canada, consists mainly of meroplanktonic young of benthic adults and holoplanktonic representatives of generally benthic groups. The major arctic zooplankton species are not included. The ice fauna comprises nematodes, harpacticoid copepods, polychaete larvae, ciliates, various benethic larvae, young gammaridean amphipods, and others. Some species occur in the ice as young animals only, others in all stages of development. Adaptation to the ice is shown best by the copepods, some of which occur there in all stages from egg to adult. The most abundant ice inhabitants reach high concentrations in the ice (nematodes more than 100 000, Cyclopina nearly 10 000/sq m). Others appear to show only accidental presence in the ice, and are found in small numbers only, often at times when great numbers of the same species are present in the water below the ice. Probable feeding of the ice fauna and the food chain linking the ice flora to vertebrate predators are discussed.

Key words: arctic waters, sea ice, ice fauna, food chain, zooplankton