Data from: Early spring phytoplankton dynamics in the western Antarctic Peninsula

  • Kevin R. Arrigo (Creator)
  • Gert L. van Dijken (Creator)
  • Anne-Carlijn Alderkamp (Creator)
  • Zachary K. Erickson (Creator)
  • Kate M. Lewis (Creator)
  • Kate E. Lowry (Creator)
  • Hannah L. Joy-Warren (Creator)
  • Rob Middag (Creator)
  • Janice E. Nash-Arrigo (Creator)
  • Virginia Selz (Creator)
  • Willem van de Poll (Creator)



The Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research program has sampled waters of the western Antarctic Peninsula (wAP) annually each summer since 1990. However, information about the wAP prior to the peak of the phytoplankton bloom in January is sparse. Here we present results from a spring process cruise that sampled the wAP in the early stages of phytoplankton bloom development in 2014. Sea ice concentrations were high on the shelf relative to non-shelf waters, especially toward the south. Macronutrients were high and non-limiting to phytoplankton growth in both shelf and non-shelf waters, while dissolved iron concentrations were high only on the shelf. Phytoplankton were in good physiological condition throughout the wAP, although biomass on the shelf was uniformly low, presumably because of heavy sea ice cover. In contrast, an early stage phytoplankton bloom was observed beneath variable sea ice cover just seaward of the shelf break. Chlorophyll a concentrations in the bloom reached 2 mg m−3 within a 100 to 150 km band between the SBACC and SACCF. The location of the bloom appeared to be controlled by a balance between enhanced vertical mixing at the position of the two fronts and increased stratification due to melting sea ice between them. Unlike summer, when diatoms overwhelmingly dominate the phytoplankton population of the wAP, the haptophyte Phaeocystis antarctica dominated in spring, although diatoms were common. These results suggest that factors controlling phytoplankton abundance and composition change seasonally and may differentially affect phytoplankton populations as environmental conditions within the wAP region continue to change.
Datum van beschikbaarheid20-nov.-2017
UitgeverUniversity of Groningen
Geografische dekkingWestern Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

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