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The microstructure and biogeochemistry of Arctic cryoconite granules

  • Harry Langford (a1) (a2), Andy Hodson (a1), Steve Banwart (a2) and Carl Bøggild (a3)

A cryoconite granule is a biologically active aggregation of microorganisms, mineral particles and organic matter found on glacier surfaces, often within shallow pools or cryoconite holes. Observations of the microstructure of a range of cryoconite granules from locations in Svalbard and Greenland reveal their structure and composition. Whereas bulk analyses show that the mineralogy and geochemistry of these granules are broadly similar, analyses of their microstructure, using optical, epifluorescence and confocal microscopy, indicate differences in the location and quantity of photosynthetic microorganisms, heterotrophic bacteria and organic matter. Using these findings, a hypothesis on the aggregation of cryoconite is presented, centred upon multilevel aggregation by bioflocculation and filamentous binding.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
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