Determination of the photosynthetic responses and acclimation of sea ice algae to changes in light climate, especially as governed by snow thickness.
Ice algae are important plants supporting food webs in the Arctic, especially during spring and early summer when there is very little phytoplankton in the water. The aim of this project is to determine photosynthetic responses and acclimation of sea ice algae to changes in their light climate, especially as governed by differences in snow thickness. The central concept of the project is that snow cover is the primary factor controlling how much light the ice algae receive, which not only limits the available light for photosynthesis, but also protects algae from excessive irradiances and creates a favorable environment for their growth. Our work involves collecting ice cores from sea ice with a range of snow cover thicknesses, sampling ice algae from cores, and determining species composition, biomass and photosynthetic behavior, all in relation to the quantity and quality of light they receive.
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