Biodiversity Day Talk: Ice Alive

On 24th May I spoke to the Biodiversity Festival - it was moderated over a Zoom call and live streamed to Youtube. You can watch HERE. I was talking about an often overlooked aspect of glacier melting that ties in very tightly with the theme of biodiversity. Here's a transcript: We do not usually think … Continue reading Biodiversity Day Talk: Ice Alive

New AGU paper: Microbes change the colour and chemistry of Antarctic snow

In recent decades there has been a significant increase in snow melt on the Antarctic Peninsula and therefore more 'wet snow' containing liquid water. This wet snow is a microbial habitat In our new paper, we show that distance from the sea controls microbial abundance and diversity. Near the coast, rock debris and marine fauna … Continue reading New AGU paper: Microbes change the colour and chemistry of Antarctic snow

Biocryomorphic evolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Our new paper, "Metabolome induced biocryomorphic evolution promotes carbon fixation in Greenlandic cryoconite holes" came out this week. The main finding is that cryoconite holes can change their shape in three dimensions to maintain comfortable conditions for microbial life - an example of biocryomorphology in action. Here's a summary of the main points: Cryoconite holes … Continue reading Biocryomorphic evolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Ice?

I recently read the fantastic ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. His dedication to realising his childhood dream of going into space is truly inspiring and his account of the many important lessons learned through the entire process, from school to space-station are thought provoking and widely applicable. What … Continue reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Ice?

Biocryomorphology

In a recent publication in Frontiers in Earth Science, Arwyn Edwards, Alun Hubbard and I outlined a framework for developing a more holistic understanding of the cryosphere. We suggest that the complex reciprocal relationships between physical and biological processes on ice surfaces represent a crucial gap in our knowledge of glacial systems, and propose to … Continue reading Biocryomorphology

NEP Video

Here is a quick video I made outlining the well-known "total dissolved inorganic carbon" (TDIC) procedure for measuring Net Ecosystem Productivity.  It is a very basic aide-memoir for undergraduate and postgraduate students showing the major steps in the TDIC procedure. There is a paper document to accompany this video available to students working in the labs at the … Continue reading NEP Video

New Scientist’s “Icy Oases” Article: The full interviews!

New scientist recently published an article introducing cryoconite holes as oases for microbial life on ice surfaces. As 'new scientists' working on cryoconite, colleagues Arwyn Edwards (Aberystwyth University), Karen Cameron (GEUS / Dark Snow Project) and I were interviewed by science writer Nick Kennedy. Of course only a few sound-bites made it into the final … Continue reading New Scientist’s “Icy Oases” Article: The full interviews!

Water Bears on Ice: Guest blog by Jesamine Bartlett

Huge thanks to Jesamine Bartlett - a recent MSc graduate from the University of Sheffield who has been working on Tardigrade research - for providing this introduction to the weird world of water bears... Whether or not you like microbiology, bugs, or even science, no one can deny the frankly awesome nature of the Tardigrade. … Continue reading Water Bears on Ice: Guest blog by Jesamine Bartlett

Living the High Life… in the aeolian biome

At the top of the highest mountains - where air is thin, solar irradiance intense, meteorology unpredictable, temperatures low and food scarce - spiders live on snow. The same spiders that are found in much more favourable conditions at sea level around the world. With no specific adaptations and no obvious lower trophic levels to … Continue reading Living the High Life… in the aeolian biome

Measuring NEP

Some under- and post-grad students recently asked me to explain how to measure NEP in cryoconite holes, and this post represents a brief overview on their behalf - apologies to other readers who may find this a bit "niche" - something more accessible next time! What is NEP? NEP stands for Net Ecosystem Productivity and is a … Continue reading Measuring NEP