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Author Topic: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?  (Read 6331 times)

Offline neilep

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Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« on: 21/05/2006 16:00:08 »
Greetings all,

Snow is nice...it's like, well white, cold and there's lots of it at the poles !

But is there any plant life there at all ?  I don't mean swaying groups of coconut trees but lichen perhaps and the akin ?

ta



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ROBERT

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #1 on: 22/05/2006 12:50:29 »
In antartica algae grows inside rocks:-

" In some places in the Antarctica like the dry valleys, some algae actually grows inside rocks rather than than on them because even though there is practically no light inside them the winds are so cold and strong that the algae prefers to stay inside rather than outside on top of the rocks exposed at the surface."
http://www.coolantarctica.com/schools/Easy/whats_it_like_in_Antarctica-easy.htm

 

Offline neilep

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #2 on: 22/05/2006 13:55:33 »
Thank you Robert.

The trouble you go to , to answer a post...many thanks.

It's not surprising that life is found inside the rocks.

Life does have a way of existing in the most inhospitable of places and clearly light in this case in not a necessity.

I am reminded of life around hydrothermal vents...and also inside the dankest darkest caves....

Does exposure to light then kill these algae do you think ?

Thanks for the website I've ordered myself a rather fetching pair of purple Uggs & matching Ugg handbag !

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ROBERT

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #3 on: 22/05/2006 14:05:56 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Thank you Robert.

Life does have a way of existing in the most inhospitable of places and clearly light in this case in not a necessity.

I am reminded of life around hydrothermal vents...and also inside the dankest darkest caves....

Does exposure to light then kill these algae do you think ?




The algae do need light, they are photosynthetic life. Light does penetrate a few millimeters into the rock.

You are quite correct about the life around hydrothermal vents: it is chemosythetic, not photosynthetic, and does not require sunlight.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #4 on: 22/05/2006 14:42:06 »
Thank you Robert for the clarification about the light requirements of the algae.

Do you think in this case then,  that this type of algae is so conditioned to live within the rock that should they be exposed to stronger light that it may be detrimental..?...suppose, (setting aside temperature) that the rock was broken and the algae received the full strength as at surface level of the rock for instance.

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ROBERT

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #5 on: 22/05/2006 15:34:05 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Thank you Robert for the clarification about the light requirements of the algae.

Do you think in this case then,  that this type of algae is so conditioned to live within the rock that should they be exposed to stronger light that it may be detrimental..?...suppose, (setting aside temperature) that the rock was broken and the algae received the full strength as at surface level of the rock for instance.

Men are the same as women, just inside out !


The rock would shield the algae from the high levels of UV radiation found in Antartica (ozone hole):-

" BAS microbiologist Dr Charles Cockell says, "Although itīs usual to find micro organisms thriving under quartz and translucent rocks in hot deserts because enough light gets through, we wouldnīt have expected this type of colonization in the polar regions where most of the rocks are opaque. Also, the harsh UV radiation and violent winds make for a hostile environment. We found that in fact the opaque rocks protect the micro organisms and, the movement of rocks during the annual freeze thaw allows cracks to form and light to penetrate beneath the surface. "
www.astrobio.net/cgi-bin/h2p.cgi?sid=1211&ext.pdf

I think the primary reason algae occupy this niche is because liquid water exists there, (freezing-point depression).
« Last Edit: 22/05/2006 16:10:55 by ROBERT »
 

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Re: Plant stuff at the North & South Poles ?
« Reply #5 on: 22/05/2006 15:34:05 »

 

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