Variability in sulfur isotope composition suggests unique dimethylsulfoniopropionate cycling and microalgae metabolism in Antarctic sea ice

Gauthier Carnat*, Ward Said-Ahmad, François Fripiat, Boris Wittek, Jean Louis Tison, Christiane Uhlig, Alon Amrani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sea ice microbial communities produce large amounts of the sulfur metabolite dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a precursor of the climate cooling gas dimethylsulfide. Despite their importance to the polar sulfur cycle, drivers and metabolic pathways of sea ice DMSP are uncertain. Here we report the first measurements of sea ice DMSP sulfur isotopic composition (34S/32S ratio, δ34S). δ34S values in ice cores from the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea reveal considerable variability across seasons and between ice horizons (from +10.6 to +23.6‰). We discuss how the most extreme δ34S values observed could be related to unique DMSP cycling in the seasonally extreme physiochemical conditions of isolated brine inclusions in winter-spring. Using cell cultures, we show that part of the DMSP δ34S variability could be explained by distinct DMSP metabolism in sea ice microalgae. These findings advance our understanding of the sea ice sulfur cycle and metabolic adaptations of microbes in extreme environments.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number212
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

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© 2018, The Author(s).

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