Warming will allow the green algae to move into Antarctica

Green snow algae is 1.95 square kilometers of the Antarctic Peninsula, and their dry biomass already reached 1.3×103 tons. According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, with a further increase in air temperature over the continent is expected as the inhibition of algae in the lower latitudes, and their progress towards high latitudes, which on average should lead to an overall increase in area and biomass.

Ecosystems of Antarctica are developing in extreme conditions, and all the producers who were able to adapt to them, play a critical role in local nutrient Cycling and the carbon cycle. From ice free only 0.18 percent of the continent, and even on the Antarctic Peninsula, where there is the greatest abundance of living organisms on the mainland, only 1.34 percent of the ice-free part of the land is covered with vegetation.

Study of polar producers — is key to predicting ecosystem development on Antarctica. However, it is associated with instrumental and methodological difficulties: remote sensing of biomass and distribution of vegetative cover eliminates snow algae due consideration, as to them it is impossible to apply the classical vegetation indices.

Scientists led by Andrew gray (Andrew Gray) of Cambridge University has created the first map of the distribution of green snow algae on the Antarctic Peninsula, using satellite images of Sentinel 2A and 2B in 2017 to 2019 and the data of field observations. They determined the change of the spectral reflection coefficients, cell concentration in snow substrate, and also measured gas exchange and dry biomass of algae on the Adelaide island (67 degrees South latitude) in the summer of 2017 and 2018; on the island of king George (62 degrees South latitude) and the Fildes Peninsula in the summer of 2018 and 2019.

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