Phytoplankton associated with the ice edge in the Barents Sea during the spring and summer is one of the most productive areas in the world oceans. These blooms move northward as the ice recedes, creating a belt of production at the marginal ice zone. Given the complexity of the physical environment and the extremes in solar radiation, the blooms are highly dependent on the variability associated with the environment. In particular, inter-annual variability in bloom composition and intensity is high. Few projects in the past have addressed this question. The two dominant phytoplankton taxa in the area are diatoms and the fiageliate Phaeocystis pouchetii. Results from this project show that (1) In the Polar Front I Atlantic Waters, Phaeocystis sp. blooms were distributed in waters with high concentrations of silicic acid and diatoms were found at all nutrient levels but in particular at lower levels of silicic acid; (2) In Arctic Waters, diatoms were found in waters that had high silicic acid and nitrate while Phaeocystis sp. was found in waters with very low silicic acid but still with some nitrate. Thus, these results show that water masses have an influence on which species blooms first, a new insight for this area.