Micropolar cruise

Phytopol (2015-2021)

Phytoplankton survival in the polar night


Phytoplankton is responsible for nearly half of the photosynthesis on the planet. In polar regions, phototrophic organisms need to survive during long periods of darkness occurring in winter. However survival mechanisms remain mysterious and elucidating them would provide a key to understanding how primary production is sustained in polar ecosystems which are among the highest productive areas on the planet. Until now, studies have been hampered by the difficulty to access these environments, especially in winter. The Norwegian project MicroPolar to which the two French PIs are associated has offered a unique opportunity to sample polar waters every two months for one year, including during winter (January, March, May, August and November 2014). PhytoPol was taking advantage of this to address the question of the survival of phytoplankton during long darkness. The project is structured in three tasks: i) characterize dominant Arctic photosynthetic pico- and nano-phytoplankton strains, ii) determine the physiological mechanism(s) used to survive long periods in the dark, and iii) elucidate the molecular mechanisms of these adaptations.




  • Station Biologique de Roscoff DIPO team (Daniel Vaulot, Fabrice Not, Valeria Jimenez, Catherine Ribeiro)
  • Observatoire Océanographique de Banyuls (Hervé Moreau (deceased), Sheree Yau).


  • ANR France
  • Région Bretagne


Phytoplankton diversity and ecology through the lens of high throughput sequencing technologies

PDF Project Project

Culturable diversity of Arctic phytoplankton during pack ice melting

Preprint PDF Dataset Project Project Project Project Source Document Supplementary material

Bolidophyceae, a sister picoplanktonic group of diatoms - a review

PDF Dataset Project Project Project Source Document

Response of under-ice phytoplankton populations to light exposure during the Arctic spring bloom

PDF Project Project