Addition of dissolved inorganic carbon stimulates snow algae primary productivity on glacially eroded carbonate bedrock in the Medicine Bow Mountains, WY, USA

Trinity L. Hamilton, Jeff R. Havig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Snow is a critical component of the Earth system. High-elevation snow can persist into the spring, summer, and early fall and hosts a diverse array of life, including snow algae. Due in part to the presence of pigments, snow algae lower albedo and accelerate snow melt, which has led to increasing interest in identifying and quantifying the environmental factors that constrain their distribution. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration is low in supraglacial snow on Cascade stratovolcanoes, and snow algae primary productivity can be stimulated through DIC addition. Here we asked if inorganic carbon would be a limiting nutrient for snow hosted on glacially eroded carbonate bedrock, which could provide an additional source of DIC. We assayed snow algae communities for nutrient and DIC limitation on two seasonal snowfields on glacially eroded carbonate bedrock in the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming, United States. DIC stimulated snow algae primary productivity in snow with lower DIC concentration despite the presence of carbonate bedrock. Our results support the hypothesis that increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations may lead to larger and more robust snow algae blooms globally, even for sites with carbonate bedrock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfiad056
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Volume99
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS.

Keywords

  • algae
  • carbon
  • isotopes
  • nitrogen
  • phototroph
  • primary productivity
  • snow

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

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