Arctic Sea-Ice Biota

  • Rita A. Horner


Ice is an important physical feature of the environment in polar regions and strongly affects the plants and animals living in these areas. Ice reduces the amount of light reaching the water column, and also reduces heat and gas exchange. A salinity minimum directly beneath the ice and reduced mixing of the water combine to enhance the vertical stability of the water column. At the same time, the upper surface of the ice provides a place for marine mammals and birds to rest, feed, and bear their young, while the lower surface provides a substrate for microalgae, meiofauna, epifauna, and some fish. The ecological importance of these complex communities associated with sea ice is gradually becoming better known. In this chapter, I will review the information currently available on those organisms associated with the bottom few centimeters of ice at the ice-seawater interface, in particular, the microalgae, meiofauna, and epifauna.


Pennate Diatom Spring Phytoplankton Bloom International Geophysical Year Pond Inlet Arctic Institute 
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  • Rita A. Horner

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