Spatial Variability in the Primary Production Rates and Biomasses (Chl a) of Sea Ice Algae in the Canadian Arctic–Greenland Region: A Review

[Published 28 October 2023]

Scientific Publications

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The aims of this review are to elucidate the spatial variation in the primary production rates and biomasses (Chl a) of sea ice algae in the Canadian Arctic–Greenland region, characterized by its comparable physical settings. A database was compiled from 30 studies of the production rates and biomasses (Chl a) of sea ice algae, the snow and ice thicknesses, ice types, nutrients (Si(OH)4, PO4, (NO3 + NO2)), and NH4 concentrations in the ice and below the ice from the region. Production rates were significantly higher (463 mg C m−2 d−1) in Resolute Bay and Northern Baffin Bay (317 mg C m−2 d−1), both in the Canadian Arctic, compared to a rate of 0.2 mg C m−2 d−1 in northeast Greenland. The biomasses reached 340 mg Chl a m−2 in Resolute Bay in comparison to 0.02 mg Chl a m−2 in southwest Greenland. Primary production at other Canadian and Greenland sites was comparable, but sea ice Chl a was higher (15.0 ± 13.4 mg Chl a m−2) at Canadian sites compared to Greenland ones (0.8 ± 0.5 mg Chl a m−2). Resolute and Northern Baffin Bay production rates were significantly higher when compared to other Arctic Ocean sites outside the studied region. The review concludes that the high production rates and biomasses in Resolute and Northern Baffin Bay are related to the inflow and mixing of nutrient-rich waters of Pacific origin. A conceptual model with drivers and inhibitors of the primary production of sea ice algae is proposed, and the database is compiled into a dataset of published data for further studies.

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