K043: Antarctic Sea Ice, Algal Productivity and Global Climate Change

K043: Antarctic Sea Ice, Algal Productivity and Global Climate Change


Ken Ryan
Victoria University of Wellington

The sea ice is host to a diverse community of algae, bacteria and protists that are likely to be sensitive indicators of changing climatic conditions. These organisms grow between the ice crystals of the sea ice producing a large biomass particularly on the bottom of the ice. They are ultimately the primary food source for all organisms in ice covered areas of the Southern Ocean, much like the grasslands in our farms in NZ.

The research will develop baseline long-term data on their biodiversity, abundances and community structure, using a range of traditional and modern techniques including microscopic identifications, DNA fingerprints, high throughput sequencing etc, over broard spatial and temporal scales.

Together with international collaborators, we will also establish the responses of the sea ice microbial community to climate-induced environmental changes such as ocean acidification using eco-physiological methods we have developed over more than 20 years of Antarctic research.

Metadata and website links

The biomass, productivity and biodiversity of algae in the Cape Hallett region

The bacterial biomass of sea ice from Seabee Hook, Cape Hallett region

The biomass, productivity and biodiversity of algae and bacteria in Terra Nova Bay and the physical parameters of their environment

Algal response to transplantation with a ice core flipping experiment, Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea

The role of grazing on sea ice algae and sea ice bacteria by ciliates and flagellated (zooplankton) in Terra Nova Bay

The response of sea ice and brine water algae and bacteria to changes in salinity, temperature, light and UVB in Terra Nova Bay

The distribution, taxonomy, physiology and feeding habits of pelagic amphipods in Terra Nova Bay

The biomass, productivity, physiology and grazing pressures of phytoplankton during the polar winter in the Ross Sea region

A mathematical model of population dynamics to explain changes in biodiversity of microorganisms in ice covered marine environments

The biomass, productivity and biodiversity of algae and bacteria in Granite Harbour and the physical parameters of their environment

The response of sea ice and brine water algae and bacteria to changes in salinity, temperature, light and UVB in Granite Harbour

The distribution, taxonomy,  physiology and feeding  habits of pelagic amphipods in the Ross Sea

Community composition survey at Terra Nova Bay with similar samples collected at Cape Evans and Cape Armitage

Trace metal analysis of sea ice at Granite Harbour