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Raman spectroscopy of senescing snow algae: pigmentation changes in an Antarctic cold desert extremophile

Edwards, Howell G.M.; de Oliveira, Luiz F.C.; Cockell, Charles S.; Ellis-Evans, J. Cynan; Wynn-Williams, David D.. 2004 Raman spectroscopy of senescing snow algae: pigmentation changes in an Antarctic cold desert extremophile. International Journal of Astrobiology, 3 (2). 125-129. 10.1017/S1473550404002034

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Abstract/Summary

The FT-Raman spectra are described of green and red snow algae, Chlamydomona, involved in the colonization of exposed surfaces of the McLeod Glacier, Jane Col, Signy Island, situated at the northern edge of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The protective biochemicals produced by these extremophilic algae give rise to the so-called watermelon snow of Alpine regions. The red colour of the senescent algae is shown to derive from the accumulation of carotenoids and a deficiency of chlorophyll believed to arise from UV-radiation induced breakdown into phaecophytin. A comparison of the Raman spectra of young (green) and old (red) algae is effected and possible bio-markers for spectral detection on extraterrestrial icy moons and planets are identified.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1017/S1473550404002034
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Life at the Edge - Stresses and Thresholds
ISSN: 1473-5504
Additional Keywords: carotenoids, glacier extremophile, Raman spectroscopy, senescence, snow algae.
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Glaciology
Ecology and Environment
Space Sciences
Date made live: 16 Jan 2012 13:34
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12156

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