Annual cycles of sea ice, wind and primary productivity in the Cape Bathurst and Saint Lawrence Island Polynyas, 1998-2015

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography



First Advisor

Karen E. Frey

Second Advisor

Ron Eastman

Third Advisor

John Rogan


The Northern Hemisphere and the Arctic have experienced drastic increases in average surface temperature, with implications of this warming being realized in the Arctic marine ecosystem. In this study, sea ice variability, wind direction and magnitude, and sea surface temperature were examined to glean insight into the drivers of phytoplankton bloom variability in the Cape Bathurst (CBP) and Saint Lawrence Island (SLIP) polynyas. Statistically significant trends in the occurrence frequencies of storm events as well as in shifts of wind directionality were found in the SLIP. Metrics of phytoplankton bloom phenology such as onset, duration, and amplitude were examined to gain insight into the interannual variability of phytoplankton bloom dynamics. Some explanatory relationships were found between bloom duration and sea surface temperature in defining conditions necessary for a secondary fall bloom in the SLIP and CBP.