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The microstructure and biogeochemistry of Arctic cryoconite granules

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A cryoconite granule is a biologically active aggregation of microorganisms, mineral particles and organic matter found on glacier surfaces, often within shallow pools or cryoconite holes. Observations of the microstructure of a range of cryoconite granules from locations in Svalbard and Greenland reveal their structure and composition. Whereas bulk analyses show that the mineralogy and geochemistry of these granules are broadly similar, analyses of their microstructure, using optical, epifluorescence and confocal microscopy, indicate differences in the location and quantity of photosynthetic microorganisms, heterotrophic bacteria and organic matter. Using these findings, a hypothesis on the aggregation of cryoconite is presented, centred upon multilevel aggregation by bioflocculation and filamentous binding.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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