As part of the FAABulous project (Future Arctic Algae Blooms – and their role in the context of climate change), PhD student Ane Cecilie Kvernvik and co-authors have published a paper about photophysiology of natural phytoplankton communities during the Polar night. The group did experiments to study the physiological state of microalgae in Svalbard surface waters during the darkest period of the year, where ambient light is not sufficient to support photosynthesis. The authors show that algae have a functional photosystem in place, and react very quickly to re-illumination. That means that they do not enter a hibernating state in the water column, but could take advantage of light increase almost instantaneously. This is the first study ever looking at physiological activities of microalgae during the Polar night, and is published in Journal of Phycology.
Picture: Eva Leu sampling for experiments (picture taken by Jan Sivert Hauglid)