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Sampling ice algae

An Icy Ecosystem

In an April 2009 polar expedition, 41 scientists led by WHOI biologist Carin Ashjian set off on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy to examine how climate change might be affecting the delicately balanced ecosystem of the Bering Sea. Spring is when the ice begins to melt and break up, allowing the sun to penetrate open water and provide energy for photosynthetic marine plants to fluorish. This sets the whole ecosystem in motion. On this particular day, researchers drill five feet through the ice floe to reach and sample algae growing beneath and inside the ice. Other WHOI personnel on the expedition included technician Philip Alatalo and research associate and photographer Chris Linder. (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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