Development of Arctic sea-ice organisms under graded snow cover

  • Rolf Gradinger
  • Michael Spindler
  • Detlev Henschel


In 1988, the short-term response of sea-ice organisms to manipulated changes in snow cover (no snow cover, natural snow cover, natural snow cover + black foil) was investigated in one ice floe located in the East Greenland Current northwest of Svalbard over a period of three weeks. Autotrophic organisms (flagellates and diatoms) were concentrated in the lowermost 30 cm of the floe. In the field without snow cover, the highest diatom concentrations were observed, consisting nearly entirely of pennate forms, together with a maximum bacterial abundance. The community of larger protozoa and smaller metazoa was dominated by ciliates. Under natural conditions the flora consisted of both flagellates and diatoms, while turbellaria were the dominating animals. In the darkened field, the organism concentrations decreased with time. The results indicate that brine drainage, induced by changes in ice temperature, can reduce concentrations of ice organisms over short time scales.


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How to Cite
Gradinger, R., Spindler, M., & Henschel, D. (1991). Development of Arctic sea-ice organisms under graded snow cover. Polar Research, 10(1), 295-308.