HOME > Research Activities > Research Projects > 2017-2018 > Polar ice sheet break up and effects on algae

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Polar ice sheet break up and effects on algae


Leader Iwane Suzuki (Professor, University of Tsukuba)
Researcher Yoshihiro Shiraiwa (Professor, University of Tsukuba), Kazuo Inaba (Professor, University of Tsukuba), Sigeki Wada (Assistant Professor, University of Tsukuba), Peter Wilson (Professor, University of South Florida), Betsy Read (Professor, California state University), Russell Hill (Professor, University of Mary Land)
Term December 2017 – March 2020
Research Outline

The issue is urgent as the mass of ice (the size of Wales) has both exposed fresh sea floor and has exposed fresh ice for life forms to grow.

Two factors are unique - the sea floor now being exposed after having centuries or more with no light reaching it begs the questions as to what algae forms are there?

Secondly, the fresh ice (in very large areas) which harbors no life forms to date but which will almost certainly grow new algae of some form(s) in the coming years as the ice floats North and into warmer waters.

This whole scenario offers unprecedented opportunity for scientists worldwide to explore new frontiers.

Colleagues from UCSD, USF, Tsukuba and in particular Shimoda Marine Station as well as Bigelow Marine laboratory (and hopefully Woods Hole) would like to get together to plan strategy.

Equally, scientists in Germany are rescheduling ship cruises so that a visit to Larsen C is possible in the coming summer – simply to gain data on this new and exciting possibility. Dr. Maddelena Bayer-Giraldi from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven in Germany is also being invited to attend and her coming will be contingent on her funding from Germany. She is a world expert on cold water algae.

Scientists at the University of Tsukuba and Wilson will set up a Symposium in Washington DC in February 2018 to discuss the Larsen C ice shelf, its movement and specifically the algae which grow, or which will grow, under it and on it.

Expertise at Shimoda Marine Station and more particularly the Algae Group (Shiraiwa) at the University of Tsukuba are world experts in algae growth and ecosystems. Wilson, who holds positions at the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and also the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania is the organizer of this proposed Symposium.

We wish to bring to DC scientists from Tsukuba, USD, SIO and Bigelow Marine Station in order to share information and to plan a clear strategy for research methods in the coming years as not only Larsen C moves North, but as further calving occurs to the ice sheets of Antarctica.

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