Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’
Have you watched the BBC One documentary series Frozen Planet? It’s an amazing show that really highlights the changing nature of the frozen wilderness. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Arctic polar bears as the environment they live in continues to disappear. Understandably, the programme focuses on large, impressive beasts, but I wondered what was happening at the other end of the food chain and wanted to see how microbes are coping with the changing temperature (yes, I’m an absolute scream at dinner parties).
I found a paper in PLoS One that looks at this very subject. Canadian scientists looked at how the communities of bacteria, archaea and tiny eukaryotes changed between 2003 and 2010 in the Beaufort Strait. This timeframe is significant because September 2007 saw Arctic ice shrink to a record low. This was due to the melting of ‘multiyear sea ice’ – ice that stays frozen through the summer months and contains less brine (and, therefore, is less salty) than other ice in the Arctic. In particular, the scientists looked at a layer of the sea known as the subsurface chlorophyll maxima, or SCM, which contains a high number of photosynthetic plankton.