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Diatoms and Earth history

imagePhoto: Fragilariopsis cylindrus, a diatom indicative of sea ice. BAS

By Jan Strugnell, British Antarctic Survey

The last few days we have been searching for suitable coring sitesand coring for the geologists for the BAS CACHE-PEP-G program. This focus of this program is to investigate the last 10, 000 years of Earth history and specifically how the Antarctic climate has interacted with the global climate. The program uses ice cores, lake sediments and marine sediments to build up this picture.

image
Photo: Corethron criophilum, a diatom.

On this cruise, the geologists are trying to find marine sediments that have built up over the last 10,000 years. Marine sediments are built up over time from tiny photosynthetic algae, specifically siliceous diatoms. When these diatoms are alive they live in the surface layers of the world

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