What marine algae means for our climate emergency

Why are ice core samples and marine algae important for understanding our climate in the future?

Holly Winton

Dr Holly Winton, a geochemist with the Antarctic Research Centre at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, explains in this short video.

Winton is working on a Rutherford Foundation-funded project analysing biomarkers of marine algae in ancient ice records from the Ross Sea to understand how and why the climate changed in the past.

“Marine algae are like the pasture of the Southern Ocean,” she says.

“They are the base of the food chain and important for the global carbon cycle … It’s important for us to understand how and why marine algae have changed in the past to protect and safeguard the unique Ross Sea eco-system and its ability to adapt to and resist climate change”.

The video features footage from Antarctica and of the ice core samples being analysed at the New Zealand Ice Core Research Facility run jointly by GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington.

The work is a contribution to the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Program, funded by national contributions from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the People’s Republic of China, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The main logistic support was provided by Antarctica New Zealand (K049) and the US Antarctic Program.

This article originally appeared on Newsroom.