Sea Ice Biology and Biogeochemistry
Interdisciplinary field and laboratory research to study interaction between physical, geochemical and biological processes in sea ice
About 10.4% of the Earth's surface is permanently covered with sea ice. Polar perennial sea ice controls gas exchange between ocean and atmosphere and ocean circulation, but at its maximum extent also constitutes one of the largest ecosystems in the world, covering an area of up to 20x106 km2 in the Antarctic and 16x106 km2 in the Arctic. It is an apparently hostile habitat due to the abiotic constraints of low temperatures, low light levels and high salinities, yet despite this factit it is heavily populated by micro-organisms which proliferate within and on its peripheries, thus constituting an ecosystem of global significance.
The sea-ice working group strives to investigate and understand the role of sea ice as a habitat for microorganisms in particular algae, as well as the gas exchange between ocean and atmosphere in the light of climate change in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
Current research emphases are the study of algal diversity in sea ice, functioning and productivity of sea ice diatoms and the role of CaCO3 (Ikaite) precipitation in the CO2 cycle between ocean, ice and atmosphere and assessing the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice.
Sea Ice Algal Survival Strategies DMS & Methane