Variability of the fauna within drifting sea ice floes in the seasonal ice zone of the Southern Ocean during the austral summer

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Abstract

Sea ice covering the seasonal ice zone in the Southern Ocean contains micro-organisms (sea ice biota). Studies of sea ice biota have mostly been conducted on the land-fast ice and large ice floes, despite most sea ice in the Southern Ocean being seasonal and drifting ice types. We sampled 17 drifting sea ice floes in the marginal ice zone off Adélie Land, East Antarctica, in January 2013 and 2014. We found high densities of copepods such as Harpacticoida species (18,787 ± 50,647 inds.m−3), Paralabidocera antarctica (1773 ± 6370) and their nauplii (69,943 ± 149,607), as well as foraminiferans (193,869 ± 408,721) within ice. Variability in the animal assemblages among the different ice floes was observed. Cluster analysis of samples based on the assemblage of sea ice fauna revealed two major groups, which were divided by the year of the sampling, and were dominated by harpacticoid nauplii and foraminiferans, respectively. Sea ice trajectory and drifting duration estimated from satellite data were different for both years, although the origin of the sea ice was in the same bay. This study suggests that the variability of fauna among sea ice floes may reflect the continuance period of ice formation and the trajectory from where they originated.

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Ojima, M., Takahashi, K. T., Iida, T., Moteki, M., Miyazaki, N., Tanimura, A., & Odate, T. (2017). Variability of the fauna within drifting sea ice floes in the seasonal ice zone of the Southern Ocean during the austral summer. Polar Science, 12, 19–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2017.02.005

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