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Optical measurement of a melt pond; Photo: Pierre Coupel

Optical measurement of a melt pond; Photo: Pierre Coupel

Synthesis study demonstrates phytoplankton can bloom below Arctic sea ice

New information emerges around algae blooms in low-light environments below sea ice

Until roughly a decade ago, most scientists assumed that phytoplankton remained in a sort of stasis throughout the winter and spring until sea ice break-up. Now there is a growing body of evidence that suggests under-ice blooms (UIBs) of phytoplankton can occur in low-light environments below sea ice.

“Up to about a decade ago, most Arctic phytoplankton research focused on open water and ice-edge conditions as there was a long-running assumption that not enough light reached under the sea ice cover to allow for a bloom to occur,” explained CJ Mundy, co-author of the study and Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS).

“However, this assumption was flawed in that under-ice phytoplankton blooms can and do occur during the melt period (and sometimes before melt if the ice and snow cover are thin enough.”

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Partners in the North

Over the ten-year history of the Riddell Faculty, numerous working relationships with organizations, communities, and institutions in Canada’s North have been developed. Two important partnerships, with the University College of the North (UCN) and the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy (NMMA), seek to provide greater access to training and educational opportunities for northern Manitobans.

Arctic Research, community engagement, Environment and Geography, Environment Earth and Resources, Geological sciences,

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