Climate Change Effects Recorded In Arctic Algae

2922944141_f15eaa5916_oA study published November 18, 2013, in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” reports that the effects of climate change over the past almost 650 years can be found in bright pink algae on the floor of the Arctic Sea and show how Arctic sea ice has responded to climate swings.

There have also been frequent year-to-year variations in the amount of sea ice when it has gone back and forth between relative highs and extreme lows. Algae are the simplest of plantlike organisms and are high-yield photo synthesizers with thousands of species.

Fueled by agricultural runoff, hyperactive algae multiply into the millions and create a huge ‘dead zone’ that consumes all the oxygen required to sustain marine life. Additionally, crystalline crusts were chiseled off underwater rocks in the Labrador Sea and in the Arctic Ocean near Nunavut, Canada. Algae grows incredibly fast, and its lifespan is unlimited.

Based on their thickness, the crusts are said to be well over 1,000 years old. Coralline algae deposit mineral calcite coral-like crusts that coat underwater rocks with colorful pink splotches. The algae are dormant in winter, sea ice blocks incoming light from the sun, and the layers develop bands what is called undersea ‘tree rings’.

The Little Ice Age was when variations in the sun cycle and volcanoes created a global cooling that started in the 1300s and went up to the 1800s, and those underwater ‘tree rings’ narrowed. Beginning in 1850, the growth rings doubled in their thickness with the decline in Arctic sea ice.

On an entirely different note, algae products are a natural solution to the food, energy and climate challenges facing the world today. Algae provide nutrition for people and animals, make gasoline and diesel and jet fuel, require very little land to produce meaningful quantities of oil, make plastics, and create jobs for millions of workers.

Algae can be harvested dozens of times year round and thrives on land that is unsuitable for other crops. Algae yields 2,000 to 5,000 acres of fuel per year. Another interesting environmental fact is that penguins are known to mate for life.

Of these aquatic and flightless birds, larger ones inhabit colder regions while smaller ones are generally found in temperate or tropical climates. Adapted for life in the water, their wings have evolved into flippers, and they spend half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.

Penguins pairs usually stay together for at least one breeding season at a time and share incubation duties. However, scientists tracked devoted Magellanic penguins who have returned to each other each season for 16 years.

Sources for the above algae information:

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