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The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments$
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Johanna Laybourn-Parry, Martyn Tranter, and Andrew J. Hodson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583072.001.0001

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Sea and lake ice

Sea and lake ice

(p.72) (p.73) Chapter 4 Sea and lake ice
The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments

Johanna Laybourn-Parry

Tranter Martyn

Hodson Andrew J.

Oxford University Press

Sea ice covers a significant area of the polar regions, particularly in winter. This chapter discusses the formation and nature of different types of sea ice. The biological makeup of sea ice communities, which includes a significant metazoan component, is complex. Sea ice photosynthetic communities are often dominated by highly abundant diatoms. Sea ice communities face the challenge of continuous freezing temperatures and considerable variations in salinity, as well as low levels of photosynthetically active radiation. Despite the challenging environment, biological activity in the sea ice can be high and this is illustrated by an exploration of photosynthesis and bacterial production rates. Bacteria and phototrophs are in turn exploited by a range of protozoan and metazoan grazers within the sea ice community. Viruses appear to be important in sea ice, as they are in glacial environments (cryoconite holes), and may play an important role in carbon cycling. By comparison, lake ice is poorly researched, but functional largely cyanobacterial communities have been described in the perennial ice covers of lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Annual ice covers on alpine lakes support microbial communities that include rotifers. The limited information on photosynthetic rates and rates of bacterial production in lake ice are outlined.

Keywords:   sea ice, lake ice, diatoms, microbial dynamics, crustaceans, cyanobacteria, photosynthesis, bacterial production, adaptation

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