It’s late May. The snow and ice are thick over the Arctic Ocean. The water is dark as can be. The scientists aboard the Healy are positioning themselves and waiting for the start of the melt season when they expect to see the phytoplankton bloom in the ocean. They expect that enough light will soon get through to let these microscopic plants grow in the water to depths of up to 50 meters. However there is life below the ice right now. A thin colony of sea ice algae cling to the bottom of the ice, absorbing any remnants of light that make it down this far. They are different to the phytoplankton blooms the team are here primarily to study in that they live in the ice rather than the water. They are a key player in the food chain of the Arctic at the moment, but soon their icy home will be eroded and they will fall to the sea floor. Kate Lowry, a PhD student at Stanford University, fills us in on the team’s investigations of the ice algae. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.