Polar Biology

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 159–162 | Cite as

Vertical distribution of the snow alga Chlamydomonas nivalis (Chlorophyta, Volvocales)

  • B. Grinde


Chlamydomonas nivalis commonly forms large blooms, visible as a red coloration, in the snow during summer. Fewer algae are seen in the top layer of snow during days of intense sunlight than on cloudy days. The present experiments were done to investigate this change of vertical distribution of algae. Apparently the algae are able to associate with the watersurface surrounding snow crystals. Due to this association they avoid being washed away by the water from melting snow. Intense sunlight, however, decreases the degree to which the algae associate with the water-surface, and thereby increasing the number of algae being removed from the top layer of snow by the melting water. If the weather becomes cloudy again, the algae do not move upwards, but stay attached to the water-surfaces. Thus when the snow above melts, they will reappear in the top layer.


Present Experiment Vertical Distribution Chlamydomonas Chlorophyta Melting Snow 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Grinde
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoological InstituteUniversity of OsloOslo 3Norway

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