Roundup: Fewer Hikers, Less Pollen, More Algae on Glaciers

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016

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Each week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news.

New Zealand Glaciers Banned Hiking

fox glacier new zealand gareth eyres Source: allcountries.org

From Mashable.com:

New Zealand is renowned for its wondrous scenery, and among the country’s top tourist attractions are two glaciers that are both stunning and unusual because they snake down from the mountains to a temperate rain forest, making them easy for people to walk up to and view.

The hot weather has even created a new type of tourist attraction over the other side of the mountains. Purdie said the glaciers there are also rapidly retreating, resulting in tourists taking boat rides on the lakes to see some of the massive icebergs that have begun to shear away.”

Read more about this policy here.

Microalgal Community Structures in Cryoconite Holes upon High-Arctic Glaciers of Svalbard

From Biogeosciences:

Biplot for the partial RDA with glacier and place as covariables, after interactive forward-selection covariates analysis. Source: photo of article.

Biplot for the partial RDA with glacier and place as
covariables, after interactive forward-selection covariates analysis. Source: Biogeosciences.

“Glaciers are known to harbor surprisingly complex ecosystems. On their surface, distinct cylindrical holes filled with meltwater and sediments are considered hot spots for microbial life. The present paper addresses possible biological interactions within the community of prokaryotic cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae (microalgae) and relations to their potential grazers, such as tardigrades and rotifers, additional to their environmental controls. Svalbard glaciers with substantial allochthonous input of material from local sources reveal high microalgal densities.

Selective wind transport of Oscillatoriales via soil and dust particles is proposed to explain their dominance in cryoconites further away from the glacier margins. We propose that, for the studied glaciers, nutrient levels related to recycling of limiting nutrients are the main factor driving variation in the community structure of microalgae and grazers.”

Read more about microalgal community structures here.

Pollen Limitation in Nival Plants of European Central Alps

From American Journal of Botany:

Taxonomic composition of the pollen load of relevant insect pollinators ( N = 10 investigated individuals per insect group). Source: photo of article.

Taxonomic composition of the pollen load of relevant insect
pollinators ( N = 10 investigated individuals per insect group). Source: Am J Botany.

” A plant is considered to be pollen-limited when—due to an insufficient supply with pollen of adequate quality—the seed output remains below the potential value. Pollen limitation is thought to be a general phenomenon under the harsh climatic conditions at high latitudes and elevations.

Our study in the alpine–nival ecotone revealed that insect activity is not a limiting factor for pollination success in the studied plant species, which can be explained by the fact that anthesis functions and pollinator activity are largely coupled. ”

Learn more about pollen limitation here.

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