High-resolution dimethyl sulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate time series profiles in decaying summer first-year sea ice at Ice Station Polarstern, western Weddell Sea, Antarctica

J. -L. Tison*, F. Brabant, I. Dumont, J. Stefels

*Corresponding author for this work

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[1] High-resolution profiles of ice dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations were measured together with a suite of ancillary physical and biological properties during a time series of decaying summer-level first-year sea ice throughout December 2004 during the Ice Station Polarstern drift experiment (western Weddell Sea, Antarctica). Ice DMSP and DMS concentrations were always maximum at the bottom of the ice sheet (636-2627 and 292-1430 nM, respectively) where the highest chlorophyll a levels were also found (15-30 mu g L(-1)). Throughout the observation period, the autotrophic surface community (32-205 mu g C L(-1)) was dominated by Phaeocystis sp. while the bottom community (1622-3830 mu g C L(-1)) mainly consisted of pennate diatoms. This illustrates that, although being known for lower DMSP-to-chlorophyll a ratios than Phaeocystis sp., diatoms dominated the overall DMSP production because of their much larger biomass. Decreasing DMSP concentrations and increasing DMS-to-DMSP ratios in the bottom layers with time suggested active DMSP-to-DMS conversion in a slowly degrading environment. Drastic temporal brine volume and brine salinity changes associated with the decaying sea ice cover are shown to directly impact (1) the migration of DMSP and DMS through the brine network, (2) the DMSP-to-DMS conversion processes within the ice interior, and (3) the physiological response of the ice algae. First-order flux estimates show that decaying summer-level first-year sea ice alone can significantly contribute to the regional sulfur budget of the Weddell Sea with an estimated average loss rate of 5.7 mu mol DMS(P) m(-2) d(-1)) toward the atmosphere and the ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of geophysical research-Biogeosciences
Publication statusPublished - 31-Dec-2010


  • PTR-MS
  • GAS

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