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Creators/Authors contains: "Arrigo, K. R."

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  1. Abstract

    Changes in sea ice thickness and extent have corresponded with substantial changes in net primary production (NPP) in the Arctic Ocean. In recent years, observations of massive phytoplankton blooms under sea ice have upended the previous paradigm that Arctic NPP was driven largely by growth in the marginal ice zone and open water periods. Here, a new 1‐D biogeochemical model capable of simulating ice algal and phytoplankton dynamics both under the ice and in open waters is applied in the northern Chukchi Sea for the years 1988–2018. Over this period, substantial under‐ice (UI) blooms were produced in all but four years and were the primary drivers of interannual variation in total NPP. While NPP in the UI period was highly variable interannually due to fluctuations in ice thickness and the length of the UI period, UI NPP accounted for nearly half of total NPP between 1988 and 2018. Further, years with high UI NPP had reduced annual zooplankton grazing, indicating an intensification in the mismatch between phytoplankton and zooplankton populations and possibly altering the partitioning of food between benthic and pelagic ecosystems. These results demonstrate that the often‐overlooked ice covered period can be highly productive in the Arctic Ocean, and that the northern Chukchi Sea has been amenable to UIB formation since at least 1988.

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  2. Historically, sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean has promoted increased phytoplankton primary production because of the greater open water area and a longer growing season. However, debate remains about whether primary production will continue to rise should sea ice decline further. Using an ocean color algorithm parameterized for the Arctic Ocean, we show that primary production increased by 57% between 1998 and 2018. Surprisingly, whereas increases were due to widespread sea ice loss during the first decade, the subsequent rise in primary production was driven primarily by increased phytoplankton biomass, which was likely sustained by an influx of new nutrients. This suggests a future Arctic Ocean that can support higher trophic-level production and additional carbon export.

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  3. Abstract

    As the physical environment of the Arctic Ocean shifts seasonally from ice‐covered to open water, the limiting resource for phytoplankton growth shifts from light to nutrients. To understand the phytoplankton photophysiological responses to these environmental changes, we evaluated photoacclimation strategies of phytoplankton during the low‐light, high‐nutrient, ice‐covered spring and the high‐light, low‐nutrient, ice‐free summer. Field results show that phytoplankton effectively acclimated to reduced irradiance beneath the sea ice by maximizing light absorption and photosynthetic capacity. In fact, exceptionally high maximum photosynthetic rates and efficiency observed during the spring demonstrate that abundant nutrients enable prebloom phytoplankton to become “primed” for increases in irradiance. This ability to quickly exploit increasing irradiance can help explain the ability of phytoplankton to generate massive blooms beneath sea ice. In comparison, phytoplankton growth and photosynthetic rates are reduced postbloom due to severe nutrient limitation. These results advance our knowledge of photoacclimation by polar phytoplankton in extreme environmental conditions and indicate how phytoplankton may acclimate to future changes in light and nutrient resources under continued climate change.

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