Navigation Links
Glacier melt adds ancient edibles to marine buffet
Date:12/23/2009

Glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are enriching stream and near shore marine ecosystems from a surprising source ancient carbon contained in glacial runoff, researchers from four universities and the U.S. Forest Service report in the December 24, 2009, issue of the journal Nature*.

In spring 2008, Eran Hood, associate professor of hydrology with the Environmental Science Program at the University of Alaska Southeast, set out to measure the nutrients that reach the gulf from five glaciated watersheds he can drive to from his Juneau office. "We don't currently have much information about how runoff from glaciers may be contributing to productivity in downstream marine ecosystems. This is a particularly critical question given the rate at which glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are thinning and receding" said Hood.

Hood then asked former graduate school colleague Durelle Scott, now an assistant professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, to help analyze the organic matter and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) loads being exported from the Juneau-area study watersheds. "Because there are few reports of nutrient yields from glacial watersheds, Eran and I decided to compare the result from a non-glacial watershed with those of a watershed partially covered by a glacier and a watershed fully covered by a glacier," said Scott.

Hood and Scott's initial findings, reported in the September 2008 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience (http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n9/abs/ngeo280.html), presented something of a mystery. As might be expected, there is more organic matter from a forested watershed than from a fully or partially glacier-covered watershed. With soil development, organic matter is transported from the landscape during runoff events. However, there was still a considerable amount of organic carbon exported from the glaciated landscape.

How can a glacier be a source of the organic carbon? His curiosity peeked, in spring 2009, Hood's Ph.D. student, Jason Fellman, collected samples from 11 watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska from Juneau to the Kenai Peninsula. The samples were analyzed to determine the age, source, and biodegradability of organic matter derived from glacier inputs.

"We found that the more glacier there is in the watershed, the more carbon is bioavailable. And the higher the percentage of glacier coverage, the older the organic material is up to 4,000 years old," said Scott.

Hood and Scott hypothesize that forests that lived along the Gulf of Alaska between 2,500 to 7,000 years ago were covered by glaciers, and this organic matter is now coming out. "The organic matter in heavily glaciated watersheds is labile, like sugar. Microorganisms appear to be metabolizing ancient carbon and as the microorganisms die and decompose, biodegradable dissolved organic carbon is being flushed out with the glacier melt," said Scott.

How much? "Our findings suggest that runoff from glaciers may be a quantitatively important source of bioavailable organic carbon for coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Alaska and, as a result, future changes in glacier extent may impact the food webs in this region that support some of the most productive fisheries in the United States," said Hood.


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Antarctica glacier retreat creates new carbon dioxide store
2. Shrinking Bylot Island glaciers tell story of climate change
3. Ancient ecosystem thrives millions of years below Antarctic glacier
4. CO2 drop and global cooling caused Antarctic glacier to form
5. As Andean glacier retreats, tiny life forms swiftly move in, CU-Boulder study shows
6. Rutgers biologist to study worms in Amazon, glaciers
7. Penguins exposed to DDT from melting glaciers
8. Montana State researchers study spread of lake trout in Glacier National Park
9. Loud and lazy but didnt chew gum: Ancient koalas
10. Late-surviving megafauna exposed by ancient DNA in frozen soil
11. Ancient DNA, not fossilized bones, shows late survival of Ice Age megafauna
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Glacier melt adds ancient edibles to marine buffet
(Date:3/11/2016)... -- http://www.apimages.com ) - --> http://www.apimages.com ) ... AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - Germany ... the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, ... Hanover next week.   --> Germany ... produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... March 10, 2016 --> ... research report "Identity and Access Management Market by Component ... and Governance), by Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, ... by MarketsandMarkets, The market is estimated to grow from ... by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... March 9, 2016 This BCC Research report ... of the RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the ... instruments, tools and reagents, data analysis, and services. ... of the RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and ... main factors affecting each segment and forecast their market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant ... by the FDA via 510(k) for sale in the United States. These components ... posterior thoraco-lumbar fusions. With one-level sales beginning in October of 2015, the company ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Connecticut ... innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of VentureClash , a $5 ... , “VentureClash looks to attract the best early-stage companies here in ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cambridge Semantics, ... web technology, today announced that it has been named to The Silicon Review’s “20 ... services and other markets, Cambridge Semantics serves the needs of end users facing some ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 2016 NanoStruck Technologies Inc. ... ( Frankfurt : 8NSK) gibt bekannt, ... 13. August 2015 die Genehmigung von der CNSX ... 200.000.000 Einheiten auf 400.000.000 Einheiten zu erhöhen, um ... wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten mit dem ersten Teil der ...
Breaking Biology Technology: