Winter Picoplankton Diversity and Distribution in the US Antarctic Marine Living Resources Study Area - Northern Antarctic Peninsula

Latest version published by SCAR - Microbial Antarctic Resource System on Mar 19, 2019 SCAR - Microbial Antarctic Resource System

Picoplankton (bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotic organisms < 3.0 micron) surveys conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) field research program aimed to study the pelagic ecosystem during month-long winter research cruises in the South Shetland Islands, Scotia Sea and the NW Weddell Sea regions in August, 2012, 2013, and 2014. This inter-annual study on the winter pelagic ecosystem follows a 25-year time series program studying austral summer waters, though is the first survey to also include the characterization of the picoplankton in this study area. The primary goal of the AMLR winter cruise was to establish the ecological importance of winter processes and plankton distributons particularly as related to sea ice and to capture the hydrography and winter distributions of krill for comparisons with summer conditions over this long times series study. The winter time study will help determine how the template for ecological success is set up for summertime production across all trophic levels. The picoplankton research will improve the understanding of winter distributions and provide sample collection opportunities for diversity and biogeochemical studies to create an integrated ecosystem picture that will be developed with the NOAA AMLR group. In particular, this effort will extend the geographic coverage of winter picoplankton in the South Shetland Islands region, both on and off the continental slope. This is important to test hypotheses concerning high latitude winter processes that were observed in coastal Antarctic Peninsula waters suggesting the relative importance of chemolithoautotrophy is a key winter-time metabolic process.


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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Winter Picoplankton Diversity and Distribution in the US Antarctic Marine Living Resources Study Area - Northern Antarctic Peninsula during August and early September of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Contributed by Alison E. Murray, Carla Gimpel, Christian Reiss.


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The publisher and rights holder of this work is SCAR - Microbial Antarctic Resource System. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: d87b829c-43d6-4b21-afb4-37e66915c6d4.  SCAR - Microbial Antarctic Resource System publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.


Bacterioplankton; picoplankton; archaea; bacterial; eukarya; Antarctic Peninsula; South Shetland Islands; Elephant Island; hydrography; photoautotrophic picoplankton

External data

The resource data is also available in other formats

NCBI BioProject PRJNA316748 FASTQ
Antarctic Master Directory UTF-8 DIF


Who created the resource:

Alison Murray
Research Professor
Desert Research Institute 2215 Raggio Parkway 89512 Reno NV US +1-775-673-7361

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Alison Murray
Research Professor
Desert Research Institute 2215 Raggio Parkway 89512 Reno NV US +1-775-673-7361

Who filled in the metadata:

Alison Murray
Research Professor
Desert Research Institute 2215 Raggio Parkway 89512 Reno NV US +1-775-673-7361

Who else was associated with the resource:

Principal Investigator
Alison Murray
Research Professor
Desert Research Institute 2215 Raggio Parkway 89512 Reno NV US +1-775-673-7361
Carla Gimpel
Graduate Research Student
University of Hawai'i 1001 Pope Rd. 96822 Honolulu HI US
Christian Reiss
Research Oceanographer
NOAA Fisheries, Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division 8901 La Jolla Shores Dr 92037 La Jolla CA US

Geographic Coverage

This is the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources study area. Hydrographic surveys were conducted across three broad sub-areas in this region, around Elephant Island, in the Bransfield Strait, west of the South Shetland Islands.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-63.5, -62.495], North East [-60, -54.012]

Taxonomic Coverage

Bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic diversity in seawater picoplankton (< 3.0 micron fraction) and the diversity of the sea ice microbial community were described based on small subunit ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing.

Domain  Bacteria,  Archaea,  Eukarya

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2012-08-06 / 2012-08-14
Start Date / End Date 2013-08-14 / 2013-09-05
Start Date / End Date 2014-08-22 / 2014-09-15

Project Data

No Description available

Title Assessing winter bacterioplankton distributions and carbon cycling as part of AMLR field program
Funding NSF PLR 1445369
Study Area Description The study was conducted in the US AMLR Study area that covers survey regions from Elephant island to the south near Joinville Island, in Bransfield Strait, in the waters north of Elephant Island, and to the West of the South Shetland Islands. The samples described here were collected in the late winter seasons of 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Design Description Hydrographic surveys were conducted at up to 110 stations per year for "fast" surveys across the 3 survey areas in this region between surface waters to a depth of 750 m (or 10 m above the bottom, if shallower). Picoplankton surveys over three years (at 6 depths between 15 - 750 m) were conducted at a total of 53 stations. Sea ice cores were also collected during 2013 on 12 occassions in a range of young (freshly produced) to multi-year ice floes.

The personnel involved in the project:

Principal Investigator
Alison Murray

Sampling Methods

Hydrographic surveys were conducted using CTD rossette outfitted with niskin bottle samplers to retrieve water samples at 15, 50, 75, 100, 200, and 750 m (or above the bottom if bottom depth was shallower than 750 m). Water was filtered immediately once on board the ship in a cold room at 0C. Samples for DNA extraction and subsequent sequencing were passed through in-line 2.7 micron filters to remove larger organisms, and the picoplankton fraction was collected on 0.2 micron Sterivex cartridge filters. A sucrose-Tris-EDTA buffer was added to the filters and they were stored frozen at -80C until extraction at our home institutions.

Study Extent The study was conducted in the US AMLR Study Area which covers coastal and off-shore waters in the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands and Elephant Island including the Bransifeld Strait, northern Weddell Sea, Weddell Sea confluence with the Scotia Sea, and Antarctic circumpolar current in Southern Drake Passage. We participated in three oceanographic polar winter cruises between August to early September in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Quality Control Nucleic extraction blanks were carried out through amplification steps and sequence analysis quality control measures were followed on data analyzed. Oceanographic instruments were calibrated at SeaBird before the cruise and sample blanks were periodically run for chlorophyll and nutrient analyses.

Method step description:

  1. These details will be reported in the literature.

Additional Metadata

marine, harvested by iOBIS

Alternative Identifiers d87b829c-43d6-4b21-afb4-37e66915c6d4