Antarctic temperature and salinity impact marine organisms
In the frigid waters surrounding Antarctica, an unusual seasonal cycle occurs. During winter, from March to October, the sun barely rises. As seawater freezes it rejects salts, creating pockets of extra-salty brine where microbes live in winter. In summer, the sea ice melts under constant daylight, producing warmer, fresher water at the surface.
This remote ecosystem is home to much of the Southern Ocean’s photosynthetic life. A new University of Washington study whose authors include Jodi Young and Hannah Dawson from the School of Oceanography, provides the first measurements of how sea-ice algae and other single-celled life adjust to these seasonal rhythms, offering clues to what might happen as this environment shifts under climate change.
The study, published Sept. 15 in the International Society for Microbial Ecology’s ISME Journal, contains some of the first measurements of how sea-ice microbes respond to changing conditions.
Read the full story in UW News.