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Monthly Archives: June 2017 − News & Stories


Chan­ging phy­to­plank­ton in a chan­ging cli­ma­te

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.

Algae, Petermann Island

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