A glimpse into Australia’s Antarctic Science programs: Changing phytoplankton in a changing climate: href=“http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2017/big-changes-predicted-for-the-smallest-southern-ocean-species“ target=“_blank“>In a review on antarctic polar science projects in recent years the authors conclude that climate change also alters the composition, the distribution and the growth of phytoplankton.
Since this phytoplankton binds carbon dioxide from the air or produces chemical substances that contribute to the formation of clouds, a change in the composition and occurrence of these tiny algae could have significant influence on the future climate as well. Glacial melting and sea ice thinning favor tiny flagellate algae, while the major diet of the Antarctic krill, the diatoms, will lose their optimal habitat. The scientists need to do more work to understand how fast and how long the phytoplankton species can adapt to their new environmental conditions.
Algae – here terrestrial ones on Petermann Island – are influenced by climate change, but this is not a one way road.