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!
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
C Flux Modelling To date, three attempts have been made to model carbon (C) fluxes in the supraglacial environment, all in the past five years. These models tried to reconcile 'snapshot' measurements of net ecosystem productivity (relative rates of photosynthesis and respiration - NEP) made at a small number of sites with atmospheric carbon fluxes … Continue reading Carbon Flux Modelling
Carbon cycling on glaciers has received a lot of attention over the past decade because it impacts glacier albedo and therefore melt rates, as well as regional atmospheric carbon concentrations. Atmospheric carbon concentrations and glacier retreat are known to be tightly coupled at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This article will concentrate … Continue reading Nutrient Cycling on Glaciers 2: Carbon
Cryoconite has been studied intensively, but we have only touched upon the redeposition of incumbent microbes to other glacial zones - something we expect to happen more as the climate continues to warm. Whether microbes that fix and respire carbon on glacier surfaces continue to do so when they are washed elsewhere has been pondered but … Continue reading Glacier retreat and Meta-communities
Nutrient cycling has been a central theme of glacier microbiology in the twenty-first century. Here is a run-down of the fundamentals, focussing on the major ones: nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen's up first... The Nitrogen Cycle: Nitrogen is a key nutrient required for synthesising crucial organic molecules such as nucleotides, proteins, and chlorophyll. Nitrogen availability also … Continue reading Nutrient Cycling on Glaciers 1: Nitrogen
Physical Geography of the Human Realm students: this post provides additional notes to accompany the 'Cryosphere' lecture on Friday 8th November! Ice and Climate Ice ages and glacial interglacial cycles are periodic fluctuations in earth's ice cover over geologic time. An ice age is a period during which perennial ice is present on earth's surface. … Continue reading Climate amplifiers – ‘these go to eleven’
In the past decade or so, interest in glacier microbiology and "bioalbedo" has intensified, but it is important to remember that these ideas are not new. In fact, the early polar explorers wrote on these topics over 150 years ago and even identified species of algae in cryoconite and the role of ice algae for … Continue reading The old boys: ahead of the curve!
I wrote an article about carbon on glacier ice for Antarcticglaciers.org which went online today. I'm really happy to have contributed to this great website! Check it out here. For any of my students who read this - explore the Antarcticglaciers website, it is a great resource for cryosphere information to supplement the lecture material!
The aim of this post is not just general interest, but specifically to provide an informal overview of ice cores for my Earth Surface Processes and Environments students (if you are one of them, the material here complements the lecture on Tuesday 15th October. Further notes and the lecture slides are available on Udo). Ice … Continue reading Ice Core Review