Short Name:

Glacial melting and coastal marine microbes of the Arctic

This project focused on the pelagic microbes from the Kongsfjorden-Krossfjorden system located on the West coast of Spitsbergen. The West coast of Spitsbergen is influenced by the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC), which is transformed Atlantic water, characterized by relatively warm and saline water. As a result, the area has overall mild temperatures at a polar site located well above the polar circle. These relatively high temperatures are accelerating the glacial melting at the inner ends of the fjords, providing it with a constant source of freshwater and leading to water column stratification and enhanced water turbidity. This peculiarity of combined warm-saline water inflow, versus an outflow of glacial freshwater has promoted the Kongs-Krossfjorden into a model system for studying climate related changes. We investigated the variability in micro-eukaryotic and bacterial communities by application of culture independent molecular tools, as a function of environmental conditions related with melt water input. This was done during early summer (May-June 2007) and spring (April-May 2008) at various locations in both the Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. Parameters included were, for 2007: conductivity, temperature, density, (spectral) irradiance attenuation, nutrients, HPLC pigment fingerprinting, molecular fingerprinting (both 16SrDNA and 18SrDNA), sequencing. In 2008 we additionally measured primary and secondary production, in situ fluorescence and Micro-CARD-Fish.

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