Project description:Polar Oceans are natural CO2 sinks because of the enhanced solubility of CO2 in cold water. The Arctic Ocean is at additional risk of accelerated ocean acidification (OA) because of freshwater inputs from sea ice and rivers, which influence the carbonate system. Winter conditions in the Arctic are of interest because of both cold temperatures and limited CO2 venting to the atmosphere when sea ice is present. Earlier OA experiments on Arctic microbial communities conducted in the absence of ice cover, hinted at shifts in taxa dominance and diversity under lowered pH. The Catlin Arctic Survey provided an opportunity to conduct in situ, under-ice, OA experiments during late Arctic winter. Seawater was collected from under the sea ice off Ellef Ringnes Island, and communities were exposed to three CO2 levels for 6 days. Phylogenetic diversity was greater in the attached fraction compared to the free-living fraction in situ, in the controls and in the treatments. The dominant taxa in all cases were Gammaproteobacteria but acidification had little effect compared to the effects of containment. Phylogenetic net relatedness indices suggested that acidification may have decreased the diversity within some bacterial orders, but overall there was no clear trend. Within the experimental communities, alkalinity best explained the variance among samples and replicates, suggesting subtle changes in the carbonate system need to be considered in such experiments. We conclude that under ice communities have the capacity to respond either by selection or phenotypic plasticity to heightened CO2 levels over the short term.
Project description:The Eurasian basin of the Central Arctic Ocean is nitrogen limited, but little is known about the presence and role of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Recent studies have indicated the occurrence of diazotrophs in Arctic coastal waters potentially of riverine origin. Here, we investigated the presence of diazotrophs in ice and surface waters of the Central Arctic Ocean in the summer of 2012. We identified diverse communities of putative diazotrophs through targeted analysis of the nifH gene, which encodes the iron protein of the nitrogenase enzyme. We amplified 529 nifH sequences from 26 samples of Arctic melt ponds, sea ice and surface waters. These sequences resolved into 43 clusters at 92% amino acid sequence identity, most of which were non-cyanobacterial phylotypes from sea ice and water samples. One cyanobacterial phylotype related to Nodularia sp. was retrieved from sea ice, suggesting that this important functional group is rare in the Central Arctic Ocean. The diazotrophic community in sea-ice environments appear distinct from other cold-adapted diazotrophic communities, such as those present in the coastal Canadian Arctic, the Arctic tundra and glacial Antarctic lakes. Molecular fingerprinting of nifH and the intergenic spacer region of the rRNA operon revealed differences between the communities from river-influenced Laptev Sea waters and those from ice-related environments pointing toward a marine origin for sea-ice diazotrophs. Our results provide the first record of diazotrophs in the Central Arctic and suggest that microbial nitrogen fixation may occur north of 77°N. To assess the significance of nitrogen fixation for the nitrogen budget of the Arctic Ocean and to identify the active nitrogen fixers, further biogeochemical and molecular biological studies are needed.
Project description:Marine surface waters are being acidified due to uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, resulting in surface ocean areas of undersaturation with respect to carbonate minerals, including aragonite. In the Arctic Ocean, acidification is expected to occur at an accelerated rate with respect to the global oceans, but a paucity of baseline data has limited our understanding of the extent of Arctic undersaturation and of regional variations in rates and causes. The lack of data has also hindered refinement of models aimed at projecting future trends of ocean acidification. Here, based on more than 34,000 data records collected in 2010 and 2011, we establish a baseline of inorganic carbon data (pH, total alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon, partial pressure of carbon dioxide, and aragonite saturation index) for the western Arctic Ocean. This data set documents aragonite undersaturation in ? 20% of the surface waters of the combined Canada and Makarov basins, an area characterized by recent acceleration of sea ice loss. Conservative tracer studies using stable oxygen isotopic data from 307 sites show that while the entire surface of this area receives abundant freshwater from meteoric sources, freshwater from sea ice melt is most closely linked to the areas of carbonate mineral undersaturation. These data link the Arctic Ocean's largest area of aragonite undersaturation to sea ice melt and atmospheric CO2 absorption in areas of low buffering capacity. Some relatively supersaturated areas can be linked to localized biological activity. Collectively, these observations can be used to project trends of ocean acidification in higher latitude marine surface waters where inorganic carbon chemistry is largely influenced by sea ice meltwater.
Project description:The Arctic Ocean is one of the least well-studied marine microbial ecosystems. Its low-temperature and low-salinity conditions are expected to result in distinct bacterial communities, in comparison to lower latitude oceans. However, this is an ocean currently in flux, with climate change exerting pronounced effects on sea-ice coverage and freshwater inputs. How such changes will affect this ecosystem are poorly constrained. In this study, we characterized the bacterial community compositions at different depths in both coastal, freshwater-influenced, and pelagic, sea-ice-covered locations in the Beaufort Sea in the western Canadian Arctic Ocean. The environmental factors controlling the bacterial community composition and diversity were investigated. Alphaproteobacteria dominated the bacterial communities in samples from all depths and stations. The Pelagibacterales and Rhodobacterales groups were the predominant taxonomic representatives within the Alphaproteobacteria. Bacterial communities in coastal and offshore samples differed significantly, and vertical water mass segregation was the controlling factor of community composition among the offshore samples, regardless of the taxonomic level considered. These data provide an important baseline view of the bacterial community in this ocean system that will be of value for future studies investigating possible changes in the Arctic Ocean in response to global change and/or anthropogenic disturbance.
Project description:Arctic sea ice can be classified into two types: seasonal ice (first-year ice, FYI) and multi-year ice (MYI). Despite striking differences in the physical and chemical characteristics of FYI and MYI, and the key role sea ice bacteria play in biogeochemical cycles of the Arctic Ocean, there are a limited number of studies comparing the bacterial communities from these two ice types. Here, we compare the membership and composition of bacterial communities from FYI and MYI sampled north of Ellesmere Island, Canada. Our results show that communities from both ice types were dominated by similar class-level phylogenetic groups. However, at the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) level, communities from MYI and FYI differed in both membership and composition. Communities from MYI sites had consistent structure, with similar membership (presence/absence) and composition (OTU abundance) independent of location and year of sample. By contrast, communities from FYI were more variable. Although FYI bacterial communities from different locations and different years shared similar membership, they varied significantly in composition. Should these findings apply to sea ice across the Arctic, we predict increased compositional variability in sea ice bacterial communities resulting from the ongoing transition from predominantly MYI to FYI, which may impact nutrient dynamics in the Arctic Ocean.
Project description:Arctic river discharge increased over the last several decades, conveying heat and freshwater into the Arctic Ocean and likely affecting regional sea ice and the ocean heat budget. However, until now, there have been only limited assessments of riverine heat impacts. Here, we adopted a synthesis of a pan-Arctic sea ice-ocean model and a land surface model to quantify impacts of river heat on the Arctic sea ice and ocean heat budget. We show that river heat contributed up to 10% of the regional sea ice reduction over the Arctic shelves from 1980 to 2015. Particularly notable, this effect occurs as earlier sea ice breakup in late spring and early summer. The increasing ice-free area in the shelf seas results in a warmer ocean in summer, enhancing ocean-atmosphere energy exchange and atmospheric warming. Our findings suggest that a positive river heat-sea ice feedback nearly doubles the river heat effect.
Project description:Arctic Ocean sea ice cover is shrinking due to warming. Long-term sediment trap data shows higher export efficiency of particulate organic carbon in regions with seasonal sea ice compared to regions without sea ice. To investigate this sea-ice enhanced export, we compared how different early summer phytoplankton communities in seasonally ice-free and ice-covered regions of the Fram Strait affect carbon export and vertical dispersal of microbes. In situ collected aggregates revealed two-fold higher carbon export of diatom-rich aggregates in ice-covered regions, compared to Phaeocystis aggregates in the ice-free region. Using microbial source tracking, we found that ice-covered regions were also associated with more surface-born microbial clades exported to the deep sea. Taken together, our results showed that ice-covered regions are responsible for high export efficiency and provide strong vertical microbial connectivity. Therefore, continuous sea-ice loss may decrease the vertical export efficiency, and thus the pelagic-benthic coupling, with potential repercussions for Arctic deep-sea ecosystems. Fadeev et al. explore carbon export dynamics along the water column using microscopic analysis, 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and physical modeling of data from long-term sediment traps in the Fram Strait. Their results indicate that larger aggregates from sea-ice and under-ice diatom blooms are responsible for higher export efficiency and vertical microbial connectivity, suggesting that continuous sea-ice loss may result in decreased pelagic-benthic coupling, with resultant impacts on marine food webs.
Project description:Sea ice is one of the most frigid environments for marine microbes. In contrast to other ocean ecosystems, microbes in permanent sea ice are space confined and subject to many extreme conditions, which change on a seasonal basis. How these microbial communities are regulated to survive the extreme sea ice environment is largely unknown. Here, we show that filamentous phages regulate the host bacterial community to improve survival of the host in permanent Arctic sea ice. We isolated a filamentous phage, f327, from an Arctic sea ice Pseudoalteromonas strain, and we demonstrated that this type of phage is widely distributed in Arctic sea ice. Growth experiments and transcriptome analysis indicated that this phage decreases the host growth rate, cell density and tolerance to NaCl and H2O2, but enhances its motility and chemotaxis. Our results suggest that the presence of the filamentous phage may be beneficial for survival of the host community in sea ice in winter, which is characterized by polar night, nutrient deficiency and high salinity, and that the filamentous phage may help avoid over blooming of the host in sea ice in summer, which is characterized by polar day, rich nutrient availability, intense radiation and high concentration of H2O2. Thus, while they cannot kill the host cells by lysing them, filamentous phages confer properties advantageous to host survival in the Arctic sea ice environment. Our study provides a foremost insight into the ecological role of filamentous phages in the Arctic sea ice ecosystem.
Project description:Nutrient supply to the surface ocean is a key factor regulating primary production in the Arctic Ocean under current conditions and with ongoing warming and sea ice losses. Here we present seasonal nitrate concentration and hydrographic data from two oceanographic moorings on the northern Barents shelf between autumn 2017 and summer 2018. The eastern mooring was sea ice-covered to varying degrees during autumn, winter and spring, and was characterized by more Arctic-like oceanographic conditions, while the western mooring was ice-free year-round and showed a greater influence of Atlantic water masses. The seasonal cycle in nitrate dynamics was similar under ice-influenced and ice-free conditions, with biological nitrate uptake beginning near-synchronously in early May, but important differences between the moorings were observed. Nitrate supply to the surface ocean preceding and during the period of rapid drawdown was greater at the ice-free more Atlantic-like western mooring, and nitrate drawdown occurred more slowly over a longer period of time. This suggests that with ongoing sea ice losses and Atlantification, the expected shift from more Arctic-like ice-influenced conditions to more Atlantic-like ice-free conditions is likely to increase nutrient availability and the duration of seasonal drawdown in this Arctic shelf region. The extent to which this increased nutrient availability and longer drawdown periods will lead to increases in total nitrate uptake, and support the projected increases in primary production, will depend on changes in upper ocean stratification and their effect on light availability to phytoplankton as changes in climate and the physical environment proceed. This article is part of the theme issue 'The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.
Project description:Microbial communities in the coastal Arctic Ocean experience extreme variability in organic matter and inorganic nutrients driven by seasonal shifts in sea ice extent and freshwater inputs. Lagoons border more than half of the Beaufort Sea coast and provide important habitats for migratory fish and seabirds; yet, little is known about the planktonic food webs supporting these higher trophic levels. To investigate seasonal changes in bacterial and protistan planktonic communities, amplicon sequences of 16S and 18S rRNA genes were generated from samples collected during periods of ice-cover (April), ice break-up (June), and open water (August) from shallow lagoons along the eastern Alaska Beaufort Sea coast from 2011 through 2013. Protist communities shifted from heterotrophic to photosynthetic taxa (mainly diatoms) during the winter-spring transition, and then back to a heterotroph-dominated summer community that included dinoflagellates and mixotrophic picophytoplankton such as Micromonas and Bathycoccus. Planktonic parasites belonging to Syndiniales were abundant under ice in winter at a time when allochthonous carbon inputs were low. Bacterial communities shifted from coastal marine taxa (Oceanospirillaceae, Alteromonadales) to estuarine taxa (Polaromonas, Bacteroidetes) during the winter-spring transition, and then to oligotrophic marine taxa (SAR86, SAR92) in summer. Chemolithoautotrophic taxa were abundant under ice, including iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria. These results suggest that wintertime Arctic bacterial communities capitalize on the unique biogeochemical gradients that develop below ice near shore, potentially using chemoautotrophic metabolisms at a time when carbon inputs to the system are low. Co-occurrence networks constructed for each season showed that under-ice networks were dominated by relationships between parasitic protists and other microbial taxa, while spring networks were by far the largest and dominated by bacteria-bacteria co-occurrences. Summer networks were the smallest and least connected, suggesting a more detritus-based food web less reliant on interactions among microbial taxa. Eukaryotic and bacterial community compositions were significantly related to trends in concentrations of stable isotopes of particulate organic carbon and nitrogen, among other physiochemical variables such as dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature. This suggests the importance of sea ice cover and terrestrial carbon subsidies in contributing to seasonal trends in microbial communities in the coastal Beaufort Sea.