Ecological Studies of Sea Ice Communities in the Ross Sea, Antarctica
9614201 Costa Sea ice forms an extensive habitat in the Southern Ocean. Reports dating from the earliest explorations of Antarctica have described high concentrations of algae associated with sea-ice, suggesting that the ice must be an important site of production and biological activity. The magnitude and importance of ice-based production is difficult to estimate largely because the spatial and temporal distributions of ice communities have been examined in only a few regions, and the processes controlling production and community development in ice are still superficially understood. This study will examine sea ice communities in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica in conjunction with a studies of ice physics and remote sensing. The specific objectives of the study are: 1) to relate the overall distribution of ice communities in the Ross Sea to specific habitats that are formed as the result of ice formation and growth processes; 2) to study the initial formation of sea ice to document the incorporation and survival of organisms, in particular to examine winter populations within "snow-ice" layers to determine if there is a seed population established at the time of surface flooding; 3) to sample summer communities to determine the extent that highly productive "snow-ice" and "freeboard" communities develop in the deep water regions of the Ross Sea; 4) and to collect basic data on the biota, activity, and general physical and chemical characteristics of the ice assemblages, so that this study contributes to the general understanding of the ecology of the ice biota in pack ice regions.
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