Biology is Changing in the Arctic (Paty Matrai)

Video Shot in: 2009

According to Dr. Patty Matrai, there are noticeable changes occurring in the Arctic due to climate change. The growth season for phytoplankton and ice algae is extending in both the spring and fall. The snow is melting earlier and faster, allowing light to penetrate through the ice and promoting growth. Additionally, freeze-up is happening later in the fall, providing an extended period of activity. However, the availability of nutrients plays a crucial role in controlling this growth. The controversy lies in determining whether to focus solely on areas of open water that receive illumination or to consider nutrient inputs through winter mixing. Researchers are working on modeling and understanding these dynamics since sampling becomes challenging when there is ice present. To overcome this, automated systems such as the Ice Tethered Profiler (ITP) and underwater floats have been developed to measure meteorology, CO2 concentrations, bromine oxide, ozone, and other variables. These advancements are crucial to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the Arctic ecosystem throughout the year, rather than just during the accessible summer months.