The role of sympagic meiofauna for the flow of organic matter and energy in the Antarctic and Arctic sea-ice foodwebs


Dr. Iris Werner 
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel 
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät 
Institut für Polarökologie

project description 

The brine channels in sea ice of both polar regions are the habitat of sympagic (iceassociated) bacteria, algae, protozoans and small metazoans (meiofauna), including copepods, plathyelminthes, rotifers, nematodes, cnidarians, nudibranchs and ctenophores. Primary production of sympagic algae forms the basis of the sea-ice food web, which is coupled to the pelagic ecosystem and higher trophic levels. This project aims to determine the, as yet unknown, role of sympagic meiofauna for the flow of organic matter and energy through the sea-ice food web. The questions raised are: What are the major food sources of the dominant sympagic meiofauna taxa? What are the ingestion rates, and what is the functional relationship to density of food and grazers / predators? What is the grazing and predation impact with different community compositions? How are the dynamics of the sympagic community influenced by sympagic meiofauna? These questions are addressed by a combination of gut content analyses, biochemical analyses, feeding experiments and modelling. The results will contribute to the understanding of the functional ecology of ice-covered ocean ecosystems.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Beteiligte Person: Professor Dr. Michael Spindler

term from 2007 to 2011