UV-Protective Compounds in Sea Ice-Associated Algae in the Canadian Arctic
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Marine phytoplankton are known to produce UV-absorbing compounds (UVACs) for protection against UV radiation. To assess whether the same strategy applies to sea ice-associated algal communities, MAAs were measured in algae associated with surface melt ponds, sea ice, sea ice−water interface, and underlying seawater in a coastal bay of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago during the 2011 spring melt transition. Six UVACs were detected as the spring melt progressed, namely shinorine, palythine, and porphyra-334 and three unknowns (U1, U2 and U3). U1 was most likely palythene, another MAA. The molecular identities of the other two UVACs, U2 and U3, which have an absorption maximum of 363 and 300 nm, respectively, remain to be structurally elucidated. The results confirm that Arctic sea ice-associated algal communities are capable of producing photoprotectants and that spatial and temporal variations in MAA and other UVAC synthesis are affected by snow cover and UV radiation exposure.