Tag Archives: arctic circle

Floods didn’t provide nitrogen ‘fix’ for earliest crops in frigid north

Floods didn’t make floodplains fertile during the dawn of human agriculture in the Earth’s far north because the waters were virtually devoid of nitrogen, unlike other areas of the globe scientists have studied.

Instead, the hardy Norsemen and early inhabitants of Russia and Canada have microorganisms called cyanobacteria to mostly thank for abundant grasses that attracted game to hunt and then provided fodder once cattle were domesticated. The process is still underway in the region’s pristine floodplains. (more…)

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The Failing Freezer: How Soil Microbes Affect Global Climate

With a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, a UA-led international collaboration studies how microbes release greenhouse gases as they gain access to nutrients in the soil thawing under the influence of warmer global temperatures.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $3.9 million to an international collaboration led by University of Arizona ecologists Scott Saleska and Virginia Rich to study how microbes release greenhouse gases as they access nutrients in thawing permafrost soils under the influence of a warmer climate.  (more…)

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Antarctic and Arctic Insects Use Different Genetic Mechanisms to Cope With Lack of Water

Genomic techniques facilitate discovery that gene expression causes disparity

Although they live in similarly extreme ecosystems at opposite ends of the world, Antarctic insects appear to employ entirely different methods at the genetic level to cope with extremely dry conditions than their counterparts that live north of the Arctic Circle, according to National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded researchers.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded, “Polar arthropods have developed distinct… mechanisms to cope with similar desiccating conditions.” (more…)

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Male Sandpipers That Sleep Less Have More Sex

A study conducted by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany has shown that the male members of a sandpiper population who spend less time sleeping are more successful at mating with females and have more offspring.

The sandpiper mating season takes place during the summer in the Arctic Circle, when the sun practically never goes down. Males of the species compete to impress females by fighting with each other, defending territory, and flying over the females while making a hooting sound. (more…)

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Scientists Discover Huge Phytoplankton Bloom in Ice Covered Waters

A team of researchers, including scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), discovered a massive bloom of phytoplankton beneath ice-covered Arctic waters. Until now, sea ice was thought to block sunlight and limit the growth of microscopic marine plants living under the ice.

The amount of phytoplankton growing in this under-ice bloom was four times greater than the amount found in neighboring ice-free waters. The bloom extended laterally more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) underneath the ice pack, where ocean and ice physics combined to create a phenomenon that scientists had never seen before. (more…)

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Ancient Fossils Hold Clues for Predicting Future Climate Change, Scientists Report

By studying fossilized mollusks from some 3.5 million years ago, UCLA geoscientists and colleagues have been able to construct an ancient climate record that holds clues about the long-term effects of Earth’s current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key contributor to global climate change. 

Two novel geochemical techniques used to determine the temperature at which the mollusk shells were formed suggest that summertime Arctic temperatures during the early Pliocene epoch (3.5 million to 4 million years ago) may have been a staggering 18 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today. And these ancient fossils, harvested from deep within the Arctic Circle, may have once lived in an environment in which the polar ice cap melted completely during the summer months.  (more…)

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Russia and Norway Sign Agreement on the Border in the Arctic Ocean

Russia and Norway signed an agreement to settle a four-decade-long border dispute over the energy-rich Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean, paving the way for more cooperation on oil and gas production.

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New Study Shows How Tortoises, Alligators Thrived in High Arctic Some 50 Million Years Ago

A new study of the High Arctic climate roughly 50 million years ago led by the University of Colorado at Boulder helps to explain how ancient alligators and giant tortoises were able to thrive on Ellesmere Island well above the Arctic Circle, even as they endured six months of darkness each year.

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