sea ice biota a

Small life forms inside and directly under Arctic sea ice contribute thousands of species to the biodiversity of our planet. These mostly tiny life forms also are food for marine animals and thereby indirectly support the poster child of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean and its change, the polar bear. 

No regular monitoring of the status of these life forms is ongoing. Instead, the status of knowledge was summarized, based on puzzle pieces from individual studies, in the State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report in 2017. It included information up to 2015.  

A substantial amount of research including sea ice biodiversity work has been ongoing since then. The maps below show where sea ice biology samples have been taken since 2015. Many of those samples are currently being worked with in labs around the globe to facilitate new insights and updates in the years to come. The project names on the overview map can serve the interested reader as keywords for information search. The single-color maps show coverage by season. 


All maps panel ice sampling since 2015 small  

The primary goal of the sea ice group in CBMP is to provide information on the biodiversity of sea ice biota and track their potential changes. We focus on four focal ecosystem components: Prokaryotic microbes; Ice algae and other protists; Sea-ice meiofauna; and Under-ice macrofauna. Given the lack of regular and systematic monitoring of sea ice biota, we rely on data compilations and meta-analysis.

Check out the latest Status and Trends on Sea Ice Biota

Sea Ice Biota Network

  • Germany: Hauke FloresAlfred Wegener Institute Helmholz Center for Polar and Marine Research

 Sea ice biota publication list 

Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile