Posted on August 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Food web in Arctic biomes could be disrupted
Caribou are well-adapted to Arctic conditions, but it’s not clear how populations will respond to longer summers and less snow. Photo courtesy USGS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Some of the marine effects of melting Arctic sea ice have already been documented, including changes in the timing of critical algae blooms sustain the ocean food chain.
But land and plant animals living in coastal zones are also likely to feel the impacts, a team of international scientists found after reviewing a big batch of studies on Arctic sea ice loss.
To try and understand those impacts, the scientists examined relationships among algae, plankton, whales, and terrestrial animals such as caribou, arctic foxes, and walrus; as well as the effects of human exploration of previously inaccessible parts of the region. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, biodiversity, climate change, Ice algae, Polar ice packs, Walrus | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Massive algae blooms change composition of sea floor food chain
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic Ocean ecosystems are sure to change in as-yet unexpected ways as sea ice continues to shrink. This summer, German Polar researchers and microbiologists documented one of those changes, observing an unprecedented bloom of ice-loving algae on patches of thin summer ice.
The researchers hypothesized three years ago that ice algae could grow faster under the thinning sea ice of the Central Arctic. This past summer’s observations support the hypothesis: The ice algae were responsible for almost half of the primary production in the Central Arctic Basin. The paper is published in the journal Science.
“We were able to demonstrate for the first time that the warming and the associated physical changes in the Central Arctic cause fast reactions in the entire ecosystem down to the deep sea,” said Lead researcher Dr. Antje Boetius, of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Antje Boetius, Arctic, climate, global warming, Ice algae, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Polar ice packs, Sea ice | Leave a comment »