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Polar Algae Forests Explored 1

The cold waters near Antarctica are filled with lush forests of 4 main species of large algae plants, or seaweeds.

Researchers are comparing their pervasiveness to giant kelp forests of the more temperate Pacific coast of California.

SOUNDBITE: Chuck Amsler, Phycologist, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham: ?You enter these dense forests. They rise up 3 or 4 feet off the bottom just carpeting the bottom.?

Researchers have found the plants and invertebrates in this region produce defensive chemicals, and some are under study for the treatment of at least one type of cancer.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham are in the midst of a 3-month diving expedition to the frozen continent.

The video, shot by lead researcher Chuck Amsler, shows lush growths below the ocean surface along the western side of Antarctica?s peninsula.

SOUNDBITE: Chuck Amsler, Phycologist, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham: ?You don?t think about there being forests in Antarctica. But there truly are these forests of giant seaweeds underneath the surface of the water.?

The large brown algae forest includes one species that can grow up to 50 feet in length and up to 4 feet wide. These lie on the bottom, at a depth of 100 feet and more, and cover the floor nearly 100 percent in some areas.

Another brown macroalgae, or seaweed, has small spherical gas-filled bladders to make it buoyant, and the 6 foot tall plants stay upright.

Smaller algae grows at shallower depths, but still, often covers the sea floor.

read more @ http://earthandindustry.com/2010/03/canadian-cement-plant-becomes-first-to-capture-co2-in-algae/
Mon March 29 2010 06:05:42 AM by Renga algae  |  forest 1706 views

Comments - 1

  • Sat July 17 2010 12:01:50 AM

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    Vote Up! 6 Vote Down! 6

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