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ASE student bridging the gap between Singapore and the Arctic

06 Feb 2020

Through the URECA (Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus) program and under the supervision of Asst Prof Adriana Lopes and Visiting Prof Daniel Vaulot, 3rd year ASE student David Mah (photo) analyzed part of the data acquired on Arctic ecosystems.

Phytoplankton populations undergo periods of rapid growth known as “blooms”.  In the Arctic Ocean, these Spring blooms – known as phytoplankton spring blooms (PSB) – occur under and at the ice-edge. This phenomenon accounts for > 50% of annual primary production in the Arctic Ocean and is associated with both large energy transfer to higher trophic levels and the export of carbon to the bottom of the ocean.

The Green Edge project is a large international effort to better understand the Arctic PSB from the level of fundamental chemical, physical and biological processes. During Green Edge, the Arctic PSB was monitored in Baffin Bay (North Atlantic Ocean).  A total of three campaigns were conducted: two ice camp campaigns on landfast sea ice in 2015 and 2016, and an oceanographic cruise aboard the CCGS Amundsen in Baffin Bay in 2016. A suite of field and experimental data was collected during these campaigns.

Together with Green Edge scientists, David analyzed part of the field data obtained during the Ice Camp campaigns (see infographic by Sansoulet et al. 2020). The evolution phytoplankton cells abundance in the water over depth and time, ice and snow coverage, nutrient concentrations, photosynthetic pigment density, salinity, and water temperature were some of the variables analyzed by David.  These analyses surfaced interesting patterns regarding changing community structures across 2015 and 2016 in relation to the abiotic conditions. David joined this international effort to standardize the collected datasets in order to facilitate their further application in other Arctic studies.  All the field data collected are now available through this publication co-authored by David Mah and his ASE supervisors.

Visiting Prof Daniel Vaulot, Asst Prof Adriana Lopes and 3rd year ASE student David Mah.