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A snow algal community on Akkem glacier in the Russian Altai mountains

  • Nozomu Takeuchi (a1), Jun Uetake (a2), Koji Fujita (a3), Vladimir B. Aizen (a4) and Stanislav D. Nikitin (a5)...
Abstract

Snow algae are cold-tolerant algae growing on snow and ice and have been reported on glaciers in many parts of the world. Blooms of snow algae can reduce the surface albedo of snow and ice and significantly affect their melting. In addition, snow algae found in ice cores can be potential indicators of the paleo-environment, making them of great interest both to the biology and the geophysics of glaciers. A snow algal community was investigated in 2002 and 2003 on Akkem glacier in the Russian Altai mountains, where no information on its biological community has previously been available. Five species of snow algae including green algae and cyanobacteria were observed on the glacier. Red snow due to a bloom of algae (Chloromonas sp.) was visually apparent in the snow area during our study periods. The total algal cell-volume biomass on the glacier ranged from 97 to 1156μL m−2, which is equivalent to that reported previously on glaciers in the Himalaya and Alaska. The community structure showed that Mesotaenium berggrenii and/or Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, which are common species on glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere, were dominant in the ice area, while Chloromonas sp. was dominant in the snow area. Such community structures are similar to those on Alaskan and Arctic glaciers but differ from those on Himalayan and Tibetan glaciers, even though the Altai mountains are geographically closer to the Himalaya and Tibet than to Alaska. The difference in algal communities between the Altaic and other glaciers is discussed together with physical and chemical conditions affecting the algae.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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