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Biogeochemistry of Antarctic sea ice
Thomas, D.N.; Dieckmann, G.S. (2002). Biogeochemistry of Antarctic sea ice. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 40: 143-169
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Thomas, D.N.
  • Dieckmann, G.S.

Abstract
    Antarctic sea ice at its maximum extent in winter covers 40% of the Southem Ocean in a frozen layer, on average, 1 m thick. Sea ice is not solid, rather it is an ice crystal matrix permeated by a labyrinth of brine filled channels and pores in which life thrives. Organisms are constrained by a set of physicochemical factors quite unlike anything they encounter in the plankton from where they are recruited. Because sea ice is increasingly viewed as a suitable proxy for life in previous periods of the Earth's history, and even for astrobiology, it is pertinent that the physicochemical constraints acting upon sea-ice biology are better understood. The, largely microbial, network that develops in the ice itself imparts a unique chemistry that influences the nature and chemical composition of biogenic material released from the ice. This chemistry can result in the export of material to the sediments with distinctive chemical signatures that are useful tools for reconstructing past sea-ice cover of the oceans. This review synthesises information on inorganic nutrient, dissolved organic matter and dissolved gases from a variety of Antarctic ice habitats.

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