Grantham Scholar Luke B Richardson is investigating the blooms of red-coloured algae that coat the snow and ice on alpine glaciers.
I am using metaproteomic data, earth imaging data and isotopic tracing to understand the extent, role and effect of blooms of red-coloured algae that coat the snow and ice on alpine glaciers. These blooms of extreme life have been known since antiquity, and occur on every continent. However, only in the last 30 years have the tools come into being that allow us to understand these extreme ecosystems in the context of the entire climate.
Working with Dr Darrel Swift, Dr Jagroop Pandahl and Dr Robert Bryant, I will aim to better understand these endangered ecosystems of fascinating extremophile life, and ask whether these are significant in effect on glacial ablation rates, or are useful as biomarkers to track changes in the dynamic cryosphere of earth. Remote sensing will be used to assess how bloom extent has changed over time, and metaproteomics to understand how these algae survive in these extreme conditions.