Autumn Bloom of Antarctic Pack-Ice Algae

Science. 1994 Nov 4;266(5186):782-4. doi: 10.1126/science.266.5186.782.


An autumn bloom of sea-ice algae was observed from February to June of 1992 within the upper 0.4 meter of multiyear ice in the Western Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The bloom was reliant on the freezing of porous areas within the ice that initiated a vertical exchange of nutrient-depleted brine with nutrient-rich seawater. This replenishment of nutrients to the algal community allowed the net production of 1760 milligrams of carbon and 200 milligrams of nitrogen per square meter of ice. The location of this autumn bloom is unlike that of spring blooms previously observed in both polar regions.