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The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments$
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Johanna Laybourn-Parry, Martyn Tranter, and Andrew J. Hodson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583072.001.0001

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An introduction to ice environments and their biology

An introduction to ice environments and their biology

(p.1) Chapter 1 An introduction to ice environments and their biology
The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments

Johanna Laybourn-Parry

Tranter Martyn

Hodson Andrew J.

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the physical and chemical nature of ice and snow environments, and their biology. The communities of ice and snow environments are dominated by microorganisms, including species of heterotrophic and photosynthetic bacteria, heterotrophic and photosynthetic protozoans, and algae. Metazoans are few, and include rotifers and tardigrades. The exception is sea ice, which supports a more complex metazoan community. Viruses that mostly infect bacteria (bacteriophage) are important in icy habitats, where they appear to play an important role in the recycling of carbon and other nutrients. The glacial history of the Earth is outlined and an introduction to chemistry, physics, and the biological functioning of sea ice, lake ice, supraglacial aquatic environments, subglacial environments, and snow is provided to provide a framework for understanding subsequent detailed chapters.

Keywords:   snowball Earth, microbial food webs, photosynthesis, biogeochemistry, glaciers, sea ice, lake ice, snow, viruses

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