Distribution and environmental correlations of picoeukaryotes in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard) during the summer

  • Fang Zhang Key Laboratory for Polar Science, State Oceanic Administration, Polar Research Institute of China
  • Shunan Cao Key Laboratory for Polar Science, State Oceanic Administration, Polar Research Institute of China
  • Yuan Gao Key Laboratory for Polar Science, State Oceanic Administration, Polar Research Institute of China; College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University
  • Jianfeng He Key Laboratory for Polar Science, State Oceanic Administration, Polar Research Institute of China
Keywords: Chlorophytes, hydrography, water masses, nutrients


Picoeukaryotes are numerous in the summer in the High-Arctic fjord Kongsfjorden, in western Spitsbergen, Svalbard. However, little research has been conducted on the community structure and diversity of picoeukaryotes. We conducted a detailed investigation of the distribution and environmental correlations of picoeukaryotes in Kongsfjorden in July 2012, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and redundant analysis. Eight classes were classified with proportions larger than 1%. These were Mamiellophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Spirotrichea, Telonemea, Cryptophyceae, Bolidophyceae, Picomonadea and Dictyochophyceae. Five genera were classified, with Micromonas (55.6%) and Bathycoccus (7.8%) as the dominant genera. The diversity and composition of the picoeukaryote community were very distinct in different water masses sampled in the water column (i.e., vertically), but were not distinct from station to station (i.e., horizontally). Biodiversity was greater in the Atlantic waters than in glacial waters. Mamiellophyceae, Bolidophyceae, Picomonadea and Dictyochophyceae had significantly different distributions (p < 0.01) in the three water masses (surface water, intermediate water and transformed Atlantic Water). Nitrogen, salinity and temperature were the first three primary environmental factors shaping the community structure of picoeukaryotes.


Download data is not yet available.


Bråte J., Klaveness D., Rygh T., Jakobsen K.S. & Shalchian-Tabrizi K. 2010. Telonemia-specific environmental 18S rDNA PCR reveals unknown diversity and multiple marine-freshwater colonizations. BMC Microbiology 10, 168–176, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2180-10-168.

Bråte J., Logares R., Berney C., Ree D.K., Klaveness D., Jakobsen K.S. & Shalchian-Tabrizi K. 2010. Freshwater Perkinsea and marine-freshwater colonizations revealed by pyrosequencing and phylogeny of environmental rDNA. ISME Journal 4, 1144–1153, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2010.39.

Cottier F., Tverberg V., Inall M.E., Svendsen H., Nilsen F. & Griffiths C. 2005. Water mass modification in an Arctic fjord through cross-shelf exchange: the seasonal hydrography of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Journal of Geographical Research—Oceans 110, article no. C12005, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004JC002757.

Doney S.C., Ruckelshaus M., Emmett Duffy J., Barry J.P., Chan F., English C.A., Galindo H.M., Grebmeier J.M., Hollowed A.B., Knowlton N., Polovina J., Rabalais N.N., Sydeman W.J. & Talley L.D. 2012. Climate change impacts on marine ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 4, 11–37, http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-041911-111611.

Feng M., Zhang W. & Xiao T. 2014. Spatial and temporal distribution of tintinnid (Ciliophora: Tintinnida) communities in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (Arctic), during summer. Polar Biology 37, 291–296, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-013-1442-1.

Guillou L., Chretiennot-Dinet M.J., Medlin L.K., Claustr H., Goer S.L. & Vaulot D. 1999. Bolidomonas: a new genus with two species belonging to a new algal class: Bolidophyceae (Heterokonta). Journal of Phycology 35, 368–381, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1529-8817.1999.3520368.x.

Hamilton A.K., Lovejoy C., Galand P.E. & Ingram R.G. 2008. Water masses and biogeography of picoeukaryote assemblages in a cold hydrographically complex system. Limnology and Oceanography 53, 922–935, http://dx.doi.org/10.4319/lo.2008.53.3.0922.

Hegseth E.N. & Tverberg V. 2013. Effect of Atlantic Water inflow on timing of the phytoplankton spring bloom in a High Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard). Journal of Marine Systems 113–114, 94–105, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2013.01.003.

Hop H., Falk-Petersen S., Svendsen H., Kwasniewski S., Pavlov V., Pavlova O. & Søreide J.E. 2006. Physical and biological characteristics of the pelagic system across Fram Strait to Kongsfjorden. Progress in Oceanography 71, 182–231, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2006.09.007.

Hop H., Pearson T., Hegseth E.N., Kovacs K.M., Wiencke C., Kwasniewski S., Eiane K., Mehlum F., Gulliksen B., Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M., Lydersen C., Weslawski J.M., Cochrane S., Gabrielsen G.W., Leakey R.J.G., Lønne O.J., Zajaczkowski M., Falk-Petersen S., Kendall M., Wängberg S.-Å., Bischof K., Voronkov A.Y., Kovaltchouk N.A., Wiktor J., Poltermann M., di Prisco G., Papucci C. & Gerland S. 2002. The marine ecosystem of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Polar Research 21, 167–208, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v21i1.6480.

Iversen R.K. & Seuthe L. 2011. Seasonal microbial processes in a high-latitude fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard): I. Heterotrophic bacteria, picoplankton and nanoflagellates, Polar Biology 34, 731–749, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-010-0929-2.

Ji Z., Gao S., Jin H., He J., Bai Y., Wang B., Yang Z. & Chen J. 2014. Nutrients distribution and the influence factors of seawater in Arctic Kongsfjorden, summer 2010. Acta Oceanologica Sinica 36, 80–89. (In Chinese.)

Keck A., Wiktor J., Hapter R. & Nilsen R. 1999. Phytoplankton assemblages related to physical gradients in an Arctic, glacier-fed fjord in summer. ICES Journal of Marine Science 56, 203–214, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jmsc.1999.0631.

Kilias E.S., Nöthing E.M., Wolf C. & Metfies K. 2014. Picoeukaryote plankton composition off west Spitsbergen at the entrance to the Arctic Ocean. Journals of Eukaryotic Microbiology 61, 569–579, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeu.12134.

Kubiszyn A.M., Piwosz K. & Wiktor J.M. 2014. The effect of inter-annual Atlantic Water inflow variability on the planktonic protist community structure in the west Spitsbergen waters during the summer. Journal of Plankton Research 36, 1190–1203, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbu044.

Leps J. & Smilauer P. 2003. Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lovejoy C., Massana R. & Pedros-Alio C. 2006. Diversity and distribution of marine microbial eukaryotes in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. Applied Environmental Microbiology 72, 3085–3095, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.72.5.3085-3095.2006.

Lovejoy C., Vincent W.F., Bonilla S., Roy M.-J., Martineau R., Terrado M., Potvin R., Massana M.-J. & Pedros-Alio C. 2007. Distribution, phylogeny, and growth of cold-adapted picoprasinophytes in Arctic seas. Journal of Phycology 43, 78–89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2006.00310.x.

Parsons T.R., Maita Y. & Lalli C.M. 1984. A manual of chemical and biological methods for seawater analysis. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Piquet A.T., Van de Poll W.H., Visser R.J.W., Wiencke C., Bolhuis H. & Buma A.G.J. 2014. Springtime phytoplankton dynamics in Arctic Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden (Spitsbergen) as a function of glacier proximity. Biogeosciences 11, 2263–2279, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-11-2263-2014.

Piwosz K., Spich K., Całkiewicz J., Weydmann A., Kubiszyn A.M. & Wiktor J.M. 2015. Distribution of small phytoflagellates along an Arctic fjord transect. Environmental Microbiology 17, 2393–2406, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.12705.

Piwosz K., Walkusz W., Hapter R., Wieczorek P., Hop H. & Wiktor J. 2009. Comparison of productivity and phytoplankton in a warm (Kongsfjorden) and a cold (Hornsund) Spitsbergen fjord in mid-summer 2002. Polar Biology 32, 549–559, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-008-0549-2.

Polis G.A. & Hurd S.D. 1996. Linking marine and terrestrial food webs: allochthonous input from the ocean supports high secondary productivity on small islands and coastal land communities. American Naturalist 147, 396–423, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/285858.

Polyakov I.V., Timokhov L.A., Alexeev V.A., Baconc S., Dmitrenko I.A., Fortiere L., Frolovb I.E., Gascard J.-C., Hanseng E., Ivanovah V.V., Laxon S., Mauritzen C., Perovich D., Shimada K., Simmons H.L., Sokolov V.T., Steelem M. & Toole J. 2010. Arctic Ocean warming contributes to reduced polar ice cap. Journal of Physical Oceanography 40, 2743–2756, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2010JPO4339.1.

Pruesse E., Quast C., Knittel K., Fuchs B.M., Ludwig W., Peplies J. & Glöckner F.O. 2007. SILVA: a comprehensive online resource for quality checked and aligned ribosomal RNA sequence data compatible with ARB. Nucleic Acids Research 35, 7188–7196, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkm864.

Schloss P.D., Westcott S.L., Ryabin T., Hall J.R., Hartmann M., Hollister E.B., Lesniewski R.A., Oakley B.B., Parks D.H., Robinson C.J., Sahl J.W., Stres B., Thallinger G.G., Van Horn D.J. & Weber C.F. 2009. Introducing mothur: Open-Source, Platform-Independent, Community-Supported Software for Describing and Comparing Microbial Communities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75, 7537–7541, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01541-09.

Seenivasan R., Sausen N., Medlin L.K. & Melkonian M. 2013. Picomonas judraskeda gen. et sp. nov.: the first identified member of the Picozoa phylum nov., a widespread group of picoeukaryotes, formerly known as ‘Picobiliphytes’. PLoS One 8, e59565, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059565.

Serreze M.C., Barrett A.P., Stroeve J.C., Kindig D.N. & Holland M.M. 2009. The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification. Cryosphere 3, 11–19, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-3-11-2009.

Seuthe L., Iversen K.R. & Narcy F. 2011. Microbial processes in a high-latitude fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard): II. Ciliates and dinoflagellates. Polar Biology 34, 751–766, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-010-0930-9.

Shalchian-Tabrizi K., Eikrem W., Klaveness D., Vaulot D., Mine M.A., LeGall F., Romari K., Throndsen J., Botnen A., Massana R., Thomsen H.A. & Jakobsen K.S. 2006. Telonemia, a new protist phylum with affinity to chromist lineages. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273, 1833–1842, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3515.

Sherr B.F. & Sherr E.B. 2000. Marine microbes: an overview. In D.L. Kirchman (ed.): Microbial ecology of the oceans. Pp. 13–46. New York: Wiley-Liss.

Sherr E.B., Sherr B.F., Wheeler P.A. & Thompson K. 2003. Temporal and spatial variation in stocks of autotrophic and heterotrophic microbes in the upper water column of the central Arctic Ocean. Deep-Sea Research I: Oceanographic Research Papers 50, 557–571, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0967-0637(03)00031-1.

Steele M., Ermold W. & Zhang J. 2008. Arctic Ocean surface warming trends over the past 100 years. Geophysical Research Letters 35, L02614, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007GL031651.

Svendsen H., Beszczynska-Møller A., Hagen J.O., Lefauconnier B., Tverberg V., Gerland S., Ørbæk J.B., Bischof K., Papucci C., Zajaczkowski M., Azzolini R., Bruland O., Wiencke C., Winther J.-G. & Dallmann W. 2002. The physical environment of Kongsfjorden–Krossfjorden, an Arctic fjord system in Svalbard. Polar Research 21, 133–166, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-8369.2002.tb00072.x.

Terrado R., Scarcella K., Thaler M., Vincent W.F. & Lovejoy C. 2013. Small phytoplankton in Arctic seas: vulnerability to climate change. Biodiversity 14, 2–18.

Wang G., Guo C., Luo W., Cai M. & He J. 2009. The distribution of picoplankton and nanoplankton in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard during late summer 2006. Polar Biology 32, 1233–1238, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14888386.2012.704839.

Wesławski J.M., Zajaczkowski M., Kwaśniewski S., Jezierski J. & Moskal W. 1988. Seasonality in an Arctic fjord ecosystem: Hornsund, Spitsbergen. Polar Research 6, 185–189, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v6i2.6861.

Wiencke C. & Hop H. 2016. Ecosystem Kongsfjorden: new views after more than a decade of research. Polar Biology 39, 1679–1687, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-2032-9.

Wiktor J. & Wojciechowska K. 2005. Differences in taxonomic composition of summer phytoplankton in two fjords of west Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polish Polar Research 26, 259–268.

Zhang F., He J., Lin L. & Jin H. 2015. Dominance of picophytoplankton in the newly open surface water of the central Arctic Ocean. Polar Biology 38, 1081–1089, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-015-1662-7.

Zhang F., Lin L., Gao Y., Cao S. & He J. 2016. Ecophysiology of picophytoplankton in different water masses of the northern Bering Sea. Polar Biology 39, 1381–1397, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-015-1860-3
How to Cite
Zhang F., Cao S., Gao Y., & He J. (2019). Distribution and environmental correlations of picoeukaryotes in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard) during the summer. Polar Research, 38. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v38.3390
Research Articles