In the past decade, glaciers have been recognised as biomes able to host a complex microbial ecosystem. Studies are beginning to show that autotrophic and heterotrophic communities living on ice surfaces contribute to the global C cycle by utilization and simultaneous production of CO2 and organic carbon (OC).
The role of Antarctic snowpack in global carbon cycle
Predictions of climate change draw increasing scientific attention to the fertilisation potential of the Antarctic Peninsula for the Southern Ocean and consequently global ecosystems. Although the scientific community is becoming aware of a marked heterogeneity in the chemical signature of meltwaters and the snowpack across Antarctica, we are still estimating nutrient fluxes from the Antarctic continent based on..
Fine reactive sediments produced by glacial erosion sustain microbial habitats in subglacial, ice marginal and other sedimentary environments. Therefore, it is not surprising that microbially-mediated rock-water interactions dominate the anionic composition of glacial meltwaters and acquire nutrients with the capacity to fertilise downstream ecosystems..
Productivity and Biogeochemistry of Terrestrial Ice-bound Ecosystems of Maritime Antarctica
Although Antarctic glacier ice is the largest freshwater reservoir of microorganisms on Earth, snow and ice remain among the most poorly understood habitats globally. Ice covers 99.7% of the Antarctic landscape, the biology of these snow and ice-bound ecosystems has been largely overlooked compared to other Antarctic terrestrial and freshwater habitats. However, microorganisms living on the surface of glaciers and ice sheets readily transform inorganic nutrients and CO2 from the atmosphere into organic biomass..