Geography

Title

Unraveling Phytoplankton Community Dynamics in the Northern Chukchi Sea Under Sea-Ice-Covered and Sea-Ice-Free Conditions

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The timing of sea ice retreat, light availability, and sea surface stratification largely control the phytoplankton community composition in the Chukchi Sea. This region is experiencing a significant warming trend, an overall decrease in sea ice cover, and a documented decline in annual sea ice persistence and thickness over the past several decades. The consequences of earlier seasonal sea ice retreat and a longer sea-ice-free season on phytoplankton community composition warrant investigation. We applied multivariate statistical techniques to elucidate the mechanisms that relate environmental variables to phytoplankton community composition in the Chukchi Sea using data collected during a single field campaign in the summer of 2011. Three phytoplankton groups emerged that were correlated with sea ice, sea surface temperature, nutrients, salinity, and light. Longer ice-free duration in a future Chukchi Sea will result in warmer sea surface temperatures and nutrient depletion, which we conclude will favor other phytoplankton types over larger diatoms.

Publication Title

Geophysical Research Letters

Publication Date

2018

Volume

45

Issue

15

First Page

7663

Last Page

7671

ISSN

0094-8276

DOI

10.1029/2018GL077684

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