The nature of nutrient limitation and coupling of planktonic primary and secondary production were investigated in meltwater ponds of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, using regression tree analysis and multiple regression. Phytoplankton were primaril N-limited but inorganic carbon apparently co-limited phytoplanton photosynthesis in some waters. Phytoplankton and bacterioplankton production were extremely closely linked, with no indication of any external nutrient inputs. Most of the large amounts of DOC and DON in the ponds was recalcitrant and not available to plankton. In meromictically stratified ponds, the basal brine layers were much more productive than the surface waters, indicating that these brines have previously been underestimated as important contributers to both primary and secondary production.
Environmental Research Letters, 2013, Vol 8, Issue 3