Arctic marine microbial ecology during the Svalbard Polar Night
AuthorAmargant Arumí, Martí
This study investigated the presence and activity of the components of the microbial food web (sepcifically viruses, heterotrophic bacteria and nanoflagellates, and autotrophic Cyanobacteria and pico-nanoflagellates) in the waters around the Svalbard archipelago (Norway) during the polar night period. The study focused on two major questions – are there differences in the community composition in different water masses? And, are there significant changes occurring during the polar night period? Two cruises in January and November 2017 with a total of 11 stations offered the opportunity to test these hypotheses. Flow cytometry was used to determine cell abundances in the uppermost 100m of the water column, and 8 serial dilution experiments were conducted to estimate their growth and grazing rates. All studied organism groups occurred in all samples in low abundances in both January and November. Comparison to the hydrographic regime revealed strong linkages between community structure and hydrography with higher abundances in Atlantic Water samples. Heterotrophic nanoflagellates and autotrophic pico-nanoplankton were markedly less present in January, whereas bacteria and viruses displayed steady concentrations in both months. This supported the hypothesis of succession in the microbial network throughout the polar night, and the possible role of mixotrophy and resting stages are discussed. No significant growth or grazing was detected in the experiments, which could be caused e.g. by low substrate availability and resting strategies. This study demonstrated that all members of the microbial food web organisms persists throughout the polar night in the major water masses around Svalbard. Future studies using alternative approaches are suggested to further study these processes during times of low activity.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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