Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is highly enriched in bottom sea ice in the Arctic during ice algal blooms, giving rise to multifaceted ecological implications in both the sea ice and the underlying seawater. We conducted laboratory culture incubations to assess the potential role of ice algae in the accumulation of CDOM in Arctic sea ice. Non-axenic monocultures of Attheya septentrionalis
and Nitzschia frigida
and a natural ice algal assemblage (NIAA) were grown at 4 °C in an f/2 medium under cool white fluorescent light. Culture samples were collected several days apart throughout the exponential, stationary, and senescent phases, and analyzed for CDOM absorbance, chlorophyll a
, and bacterial cell abundance. The cultures displayed apparent specific growth rates of algal and bacterial cells comparable to those in the field. Accumulations of CDOM were observed in all cultures during the time-course incubations, with the senescent phase showing the largest accumulations and the highest production rates. The senescent-phase production rate for NIAA was ~40% higher than that for A. septentrionalis
. The chlorophyll a
-normalized CDOM production rates in the cultures are comparable to those reported for Arctic first-year sea ice. The absorption spectra of CDOM in the cultures exhibited characteristic short-ultraviolet shoulders similar to those previously identified in sea ice. This study demonstrates that ice algal-derived CDOM can account for the springtime accumulation of CDOM in Arctic sea ice.
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