Sea Ice Communities

Microorganisms living in sea ice affect carbon and nutrient cycling in polar seas, but their susceptibility to the changing environmental conditions of polar regions is not well understood. The Neuer lab has been studying the adaptation of sea ice organisms living immured in the brine channels of sea ice, using a model organism that was isolated from sea ice brine. In addition, we have been studying the microbial community structure of land-fast Arctic Sea Ice and how environmental variables, such as light and temperature, influence these sea ice communities (see references below). In the former NSF project “Sinking rates and nutritional quality of organic matter exported from sea ice; the importance of exopolymeric substances” in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Juhl from Columbia University, the Neuer lab studied sea ice algae with a particular focus on the flux of the organisms and organic matter from the sea ice to the water column as the ice melts. The work is done by coring and melting coastal ice sampled in the frozen coastal ocean of the Chuckchi Sea and utilizing the UMIAQ field station in Barrow, Alaska as a logistical base.

Please see this ASU Ask-A-Biologist story to learn more about our work.


Follow the Arctic project  year by year:

2013 blog by graduate student Kyle Kinzler

2011 blog by former Master’s student Amy Hansen.

2008 blog  by Phillip Tarrant


Eddie B., A. Juhl, C. Krembs, C. Baysinger, and S. Neuer. 2010. Effect of Environmental Variables on Eukaryotic Microbial Community Structure of Land-fast Arctic Sea Ice. Environmental Microbiology. Environmental Microbiology 12, 797-809.

Eddie B., C. Krembs, and S. Neuer. 2008. Characterization and growth response to temperature and salinity of psychrophilic, halotolerant Chalmydomonas sp ARC isolated from Chukchi sea ice. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 354, 107-117.