Environmental influences on snow algal microbes

TitleEnvironmental influences on snow algal microbes
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1992
AuthorsHoham, R. W.
Conference Name60th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 60th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1992
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationJackson Hole, Wyoming
KeywordsAlgae, Ecology, Microbes, Physiology, Snow microbes

Microbes called snow algae are worldwide in their distribution from alpine and polar environments. These microbes have been reported from 13 western states during the time of snowmelt. They occupy extreme conditions of cold temperature acidified snow, high irradiation levers and minimum nutrients for growth during snowmelt and summer drought after snowmelt. Snow algae color the snow green, orange or red, and environmental factors influence the distributions of individual spedies. A recent study of red snow from Wyoming and red and green snow from Antarctica shows differences in pigment ratios, fatty acid ratios and total nitroben content. In another study closely related snow algae from the White Mtns. Arizona and the Adirondacks,N.Y., appear to have lost their capacity to reproduce sexually, but several observations of abnormal sexual reproduction have been observed. These reproductive strategies may be important for the survival of snow algae in the natural environment.