Roundup: Antarctic Coral, Laser Ultrasound, and Totten Glacier

Ecology of Antarctic Coral

From Science Direct: “Antarctic ecosystems present highly marked seasonal patterns in energy input, which in turn determines the biology and ecology of marine invertebrate species. The pennatulid Malacobelemnon daytoni, is one of the most abundant species in Potter Cove, Antarctica. Its biochemical compositions were studied over a year-round period. The profiles suggest an omnivorous diet and opportunistic feeding strategy for the species, which supports the hypothesis that resuspension events may be an important source of energy, reducing the seasonality of food depletion periods in winter. This gives us a better insight into the species’ success in Potter Cove and under the current environmental changes experienced by the Antarctic Peninsula.”

Learn more about the Malacobelemnon daytoni here.

The Antarctic Peninsula (Source: Halley Wombat/Creative Commons).

New Laser Ultrasound Aids Ice Core Studies

From MDPI: “The study of climate records in ice cores requires an accurate determination of annual layering within the cores in order to establish a depth-age relationship. We present a complimentary elastic wave remote sensing method based on laser ultrasonics, which is used to measure variations in ultrasonic wave arrival times and velocity along the core with millimeter resolution. Custom optical windows allow the source and receiver lasers to be located outside the cold room, while the core is scanned by moving it with a computer-controlled stage. These new data may be used to infer stratigraphic layers from elastic parameter variations within an ice core, as well as analyze ice crystal fabrics.”

Read more about the wave remote sensing method here.

Research teams in Antarctica to study lead pollution through ice cores (Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Creative Commons).

Totten Glacier Mass Loss

From University of Exeter: “A large volume of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet drains through the Totten Glacier (TG) and is thought to be a potential source of substantial global sea level rise over the coming centuries. We show the surface velocity and height of the floating part of TG, which buttresses the grounded component, have varied substantially over two decades, with variations in surface height strongly anti-correlated with simulated basal melt rates. Coupled glacier/ice-shelf simulations confirm ice flow and thickness respond to both basal melting of the ice shelf and grounding on bed obstacles. We conclude the observed variability of TG is primarily ocean-driven. Ocean warming in this region will lead to enhanced ice-sheet dynamism and loss of upstream grounded ice.”

Learn more about the Totten glacier’s mass loss here.

Shelf ice calving in Antarctica (Source: Ice Sheets/Wikimedia Commons).
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