Microbes flourish under Arctic sea ice

Scientists shocked to find phytoplankton thriving under frozen surface

3:11pm, June 7, 2012

Secret gardens may hide beneath floating slabs of ice in the Arctic. A pea soup of plantlike plankton has been uncovered that extends more than 100 kilometers under ice off Alaska’s coast.

The explosion of microscopic life, spotted last July, could cause problems for other critters in the Chukchi Sea, researchers report online June 7 in Science. Seasonal blooms this big traditionally happen later in the summer, and only in open waters exposed to the sun after ice melts.

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