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Ice algal bloom development on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiy025
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume94
Issue number3
Early online date10 Feb 2018
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2018
DatePublished (current) - Mar 2018

Abstract

It is fundamental to understand the development of Zygnematophycean (Streptophyte) micro-algal blooms within Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) supraglacial environments, given their potential to significantly impact both physical (melt) and chemical (carbon and nutrient cycling) surface characteristics. Here we report on a space-for-time assessment of a GrIS ice-algal bloom, achieved by sampling an ∼ 85 km transect spanning the south-western GrIS bare ice zone during the 2016 ablation season. Cell abundances ranged from 0 to 1.6 × 104 cells ml−1, with algal biomass demonstrated to increase in surface ice with time since snow line retreat (R2 = 0.73, P < 0.05). A suite of light harvesting and photo-protective pigments were quantified across transects (chlorophylls, carotenoids and phenols) and shown to increase in concert with algal biomass. Ice-algal communities drove net autotrophy of surface ice, with maximal rates of net production averaging 0.52 ± 0.04 mg C l−1 d−1, and a total accumulation of 1.306 Gg C (15.82 ± 8.14 kg C km−2) predicted for the 2016 ablation season across an 8.24 × 104 km2 region of the GrIS. By advancing our understanding of ice-algal bloom development, this study marks an important step toward projecting bloom occurrence and impacts into the future.

    Research areas

  • cyanobacteria, cryosphere, polar, alpine, genomics

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Oxford University Press at https://academic.oup.com/femsec/article/94/3/fiy025/4850643 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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