The role of soil algae in the development of High Arctic ecosystems

Regions: Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut

Tags: biology, soil, algae, plant communities, plant life cycles

Principal Investigator: Bliss, Lawrence (13)
Licence Number: 8109
Organization: University of Washington
Licenced Year(s): 1993 1992 1991 1989 1988
Issued: Jan 01, 1988
Project Team: Dr. Caroline Bledsoe; Dr. Sam Bledsoe; Dr. David Chapin; Dr. Leal Dickson; A. Leggett; R. Lennihan; two field assistants

Objective(s): To study the rates of carbon accumulation by algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants; to determine the rates of nitrogen fixation by terrestrial bluegreen algae; to determine the major algal species that account for this accumulation; to determine the rates of decomposition and nutrient cycling; and, to establish the successional pattern of plant communities.

Project Description: Dr. Bliss and his research team are returning to continue their investigation of how soil develops from bare rock along the ocean edge. Seaweed washes up on shore and rots. Small plants grow on the rotting seaweed and help to form soil. As the soil gets thicker, larger plants such as those eaten by muskox and geese begin to grow. This is how the rich coastal lowlands have been formed which are so important to High Arctic wildlife.