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Phytoplankton perform photosynthesis, bloom beneath Arctic sea ice

Phytoplankton perform photosynthesis, bloom beneath Arctic sea ice

Science
Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Phytoplankton, tiny single-celled algae, anchor marine food webs throughout Earth's oceans. Now, new research suggests the tiny free-floating microorganisms play a central role in the functioning Arctic marine ecosystem. For decades, scientists assumed phytoplankton in the Arctic go dormant during the winter and early spring, proliferating only after Arctic sea ice begins to recede during the summer. Advertisement But a new review of the scientific literature on the subject -- published Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science -- suggests phytoplankton continue to perform photosynthesis and bloom beneath Arctic sea ice. "There was a long-standing assumption that what was happening under the sea ice in the water column was almost 'on pause' during the polar nigh...
Map reveals land beneath Antarctic ice sheet in unprecedented detail

Map reveals land beneath Antarctic ice sheet in unprecedented detail

Science
Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Scientists have successfully mapped the topography of the land beneath Antarctica's ice sheet at high resolution by combining radar observations with ice volume and flow velocity data. The new map will help scientists identify regions of ice that are likely to be more or less susceptible to the deleterious effects of climate change. The results of the BedMachine project, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, revealed a variety of interesting topographical features. Scientists found ridges that stabilize ice flowing across the Transantarctic Mountains, as well as structural features conducive to accelerated melting beneath the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers in Western Antarctica. To build the new map, scientists sourced data from a wide diversity of so...
New primitive arthropod species found in cave long buried beneath ice

New primitive arthropod species found in cave long buried beneath ice

Science
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a primitive arthropod species inside a pair of limestone caves on Canada's Vancouver Island. Until deglaciation began some 18,000 years ago, the island and caves were buried beneath ice. As such, the species, Haplocampa wagnelli, presence within the caves presents two interesting possibilities. Perhaps the cave-dwelling dipluran's discovery proves terrestrial arthropods survived in deep subterranean habitats during the Last Glacial Maximum, which peaked around 26,000 years ago. It's also possible the newly discovered species diverged from its Asian relatives and migrated to Vancouver Island during deglaciation. Most cave-dwelling campodeid diplurans, a family of hexapods, featured an elongated body and appendages. But Haplocampa wagnelli isn't al...
Isolated lakes found beneath Canadian ice sheet

Isolated lakes found beneath Canadian ice sheet

Science
Researchers have found lakes that may shed new light on icy worlds in our Solar System.High in the Canadian Arctic, two subglacial bodies of water have been spotted beneath over 500 metres of ice.The water has an estimated maximum temperature of -10.5C, and would need to be very salty to avoid freezing.There are thought to be similar cold, saline conditions in the subsurface ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa, yet also the potential to host life.The findings, from a team led by the University of Alberta, have been published in Science Advances.A Canadian firstThe two lakes appeared in a radar survey of the Devon Ice Cap, which sits on Devon Island, in Canada's northern Nunavut territory."I was super surprised, and a little bit puzzled," Anja Rutishauser, the study's lead author, said of the di...
Lasers reveal ancient Mayan civilization hiding beneath Guatemalan canopy

Lasers reveal ancient Mayan civilization hiding beneath Guatemalan canopy

Science
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A series of LiDAR surveys has revealed some 60,000 ancient Mayan structures hiding under the jungle canopy in Guatemala.The hundreds of houses, palaces and roads identified by the surveys have offered new insights into the sophisticated organization of the Mayan civilization at the height of their cultural and political dominance between 250 and 900 AD.LiDAR stands for "Light Detection and Ranging." The technology uses short laser pulses to measure the distance between the airplane-mounted instrument -- which combines a laser, scanner and unique GPS receiver -- and Earth's surface.Over several years, scientists have conducted surveys of large swaths of Central America, where thick jungles make field work difficult. The tiny laser pulses squeeze through gaps in the dense can...