Limited organic nutrients in Antarctica's benthic communities are recycled after the spring and summer seasons by being redistributed through the aquatic food chain.

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“The icy depths of the Antarctic seas support one of the most densely populated and diverse benthic communities on earth. Although the water temperature is only just above freezing, it is rich in oxygen, and the long-term environmental conditions are quite stable; changes in temperature and food supply are reliably periodic, waxing and waning with the seasons. At 300 feet, the bottom receives almost no light from above, but food in the form of tiny, single-cell marine plants sinks to the sea floor. During the long daylight hours of spring and summer, a period of about three months, the phytoplankton produce enough food through photosynthesis to support life in the Antarctic seas. For the remainder of the year, the food is redistributed from one organism to another as predators consume prey and scavengers recycle the dead.” (Winston 1990:70)

Journal article
Life in Antarctic depthsNatural HistorySeptember 1, 1990
Winston JE

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