Seasonal dynamics in sympagic meiofauna in a high-Arctic fjord

This project studies the seasonal activity of sympagic (ice-associated) meiofauna in Van Mijenfjorden through experiments. The feeding ecology and growth of two sympagic organisms are being investigated in order to assess potential grazing pressure and establish the life cycle of widely understudied allochthonous sympagic fauna in first-year ice.

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Project type

  • field work
  • arctic field grant (afg)


  • marine biology

Project Keywords

  • biological classification / animals/invertebrates / roundworms
  • biological classification / animals/invertebrates
  • oceans / marine biology
  • oceans / sea ice

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This project is part of my master thesis, which is a sub-project of the FAABulous project (RiS ID 10383). This part of my master thesis aims to collect sea ice cores to conduct experiments with sympagic (ice-associated) meiofauna that inhabits the seasonal landfast ice in Van Mijenfjorden. Both pelagic and benthic organisms utilize sea ice as a feeding, breeding and nursery ground. Their larvae feed on ice algae, that grow within the brine channels, and potentially bacteria to fuel their growth and development. Even though sea ice appears to play such an essential role in the life cycle of various marine organisms, little biological studies have been done on sea ice in the European Arctic and very little to no work has been conducted on first-year ice. In terms of abundance, nematodes tend to dominate the sympagic biocenosis. Despite their sheer abundance, little work has been conducted on their morphology, reproductive and feeding ecology. The studies that have been done focused on nematodes from multi-year ice. Considering the importance of nematodes in the marine environment, it is crucial to understand their life cycle to assess how it will be affected by changing sea ice conditions. This project aims to investigate the feeding ecology of allochthonous (not indigenous) sympagic nematodes, as well as the growth cycle of both polychaete larvae and nematodes. This will be done by collecting sea ice samples, both biotic and abiotic, from two known stations that were established earlier on this year.

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