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Images: Arctic Ecoysystem Voyage

In the spring of 2008, WHOI biologist Carin Ashjian led an expedition to the edge of the sea ice in the Bering Sea aboard the U.S. icebreaker Healy to study how climate change may affect organisms at the base of the Arctic food chain. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

From the deck of the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea, WHOI research associate Phil Alatalo (left) and  LTJG Stephen Elliot (right) deploy the Video Plankton Recorder, a towed instrument that takes images of small plankton near the bottom of the marine food chain. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

During her spring 2008 research cruise to study the Bering Sea ecosystem, chief scientist Carin Ashjian of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution visited St. Lawrence Island. There, she met with hunters Tom Antoghame (left) and Merlin Koonooka (right) to hear their insights into the changing Arctic climate. (Photo by Jeffrey Stewart, U.S. Coast Guard)

The icebreaker USCG Healy carried researchers to sample in nearly 200 locations in the Bering Sea, indicated by green dots on the red cruise track. The Alaskan coast is on the right, the Russian coast at the top left, the Aleutian Islands in the bottom right corner, and St. Lawrence Island is at the top center. (Map by Tom Bolmer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"By April 11," WHOI biologist Carin Ashjian wrote in a dispatch from the field, "the ice has increasing amounts of ice algae growing in and on the underside of the slabs, so that when the ice is turned over as the ship passes, the bottom is brown with algae. The darker brown color is ice algae growing in and on the ice underside. This algae is eaten by animals living in the ice or that scrape algae off the underside of the ice. The algae also eventually falls off of the ice and may be eaten by plankton in the water column or sink to the seafloor where it is eaten by the benthos (seafloor-swelling organisms)."
(Photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

On a separate expedition, Andrew Juhl, a scientist at Lamont-Doheryt Earth Observatory, took this photo of a freshly extracted sea ice core pulled from a hole drilled in the ice. The brown-colored band at the bottom of the ice core shows algae that grow the underside of the ice. (Photo by Andrew Juhl, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

In this microscopic view of a thin section of natural sea ice, note the open spaces within the ice matrix (sea ice is porous, unlike freshwater ice). Ice algae (diatoms) live within these open spaces. These pigmented organisms discolor the bottom layer of ice cores.
(Photo by Christopher Krembs, University of Washington)