Summary

Sea ice metazoans are well adapted to survival in the sea ice, adaptations range from lipid storage in copepods (Martynova et al. 2009) and high salinity tolerances in nematodes and rotifers (Friedrich and De Smet, 2000) to osmoconforming in turbellarians (Krembs et al. 2000). Some species such as Stephos longipes (Schnack-Schiel et al. 1995) have even adapted their life history strategies to conform with seasonal changes in sea-ice, which can vary from decreased space in winter (due to brine channel constriction) (Schunemann and Werner, 2005) to periods of no sea ice in the Antarctic summer. These seasonal changes cause an alteration in community structure in the sea-ice, with copepod nauplii dominating in the winter and the community becoming more even in the spring and summer. (Schunemann and Werner, 2005).

What is not currently understood is why the Arctic and Antarctic have different faunal assemblages when the physical habitat of sea ice is so similar, and how the metazoans are incorporated into the sea ice in the first place. These are both questions that require further scientific study, a difficult task in a habitat that is an extreme environment for visiting humans.

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