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Bio-optical model of Antarctic sea-ice algae photosynthesis

Funding: 2007: $90,000
2008: $88,000
2009: $85,000

Project Member(s): Ralph, P.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)
Australian Research Council (Other funds for ARC projects)

Start year: 2007

Summary: Climate change has already led to a10% loss in Antarctic sea-ice since the 1960's and it is projected to reduce by a further 20% during this century. Algae growing on sea-ice form the basis of the Antarctic food web. Light transmission through snow & ice controls ice algae production. Using a suite of photophysiological tools and biochemical inhibitors we will examine the processes which control the photosynthesis of sea-ice algae; specifically the competing processes of photoacclimation & photoinhibition. We will develop a mechanistic model that describes how the photosynthetic processes of sea-ice algae respond to light. This will be used to predict how sea-ice algae productivity will change under various climate change scenarios.

Keywords: Antarctica, sea ice, phytoplankton, photosynthesis, physiology,

FOR Codes: Plant Physiology, Phycology, Living resources (flora and fauna), Phycology (incl. Marine Grasses), Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity