Bioconditioning of Arctic Waters and Stimulation of Arctic Phytoplankton by Sea Ice Algae: Vulnerability to Increased Light

  • Spencer Apollonio
Keywords: ice algae; Arctic phytoplankton; bioconditioning; sea ice decline


Arctic sea ice algae produce extracellular organic products, which, as bioconditioners of seawater, may stimulate early summer growth of pelagic, under-sea-ice phytoplankton in low light and low temperature conditions. Sea ice algae are inhibited or decline in numbers if prematurely exposed to high light conditions, thereby reducing their ability to produce bioconditioners. As climate change creates an early reduction or removal of snow and sea ice cover, the result may be a decrease in primary phytoplankton production.