Using this graphic and referring to it is encouraged, and please use it in presentations, web pages, newspapers, blogs and reports.
For any form of publication, please include the link to this page and give the cartographer/designer credit (in this case Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)
Gradinger, R., Hopcroft, R.R. & Bluhm, B. 2004. Arctic Census of Marine Life (Arc-CoML) Program Proposal. University of Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska. 35 pp.
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Arctic sea ice food web - schematic illustration
Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Sea ice represents a unique ecosystem in the Arctic, providing habitat to specialized iceassociated species that include microorganisms, fish, birds, and marine mammals. Individual species use sea ice in different ways depending on their biological needs. Ice algae form the base of the food web. Some algae stay attached to the bottom of the ice, some fall into the water column, and some fall to the bottom of the sea, and so provide food for species that feed at different depths. Protists (single-celled organisms) and zooplankton eat the algae which are then eaten by, for instance, Arctic cod, Boreogadus saida and sea birds (e.g. dovekie, Alle alle), which in turn act as the major link to other fish and birds, seals, and whales. Polar bears, Ursus maritimus, prey upon seals from the ice and walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, forage on clams from drifting pack ice.