The snow turns blood red in the Alps

When the snow turns red in the Alps, the spectacle may seem macabre. In fact, this “blood of glaciers “Is due to a bloom microalgae, a period during which they multiply strongly.

We find in the mountains cash still very little known. Scientists founded the consortium Alpalga for study these ecosystems possibly threatened by the global warming. They were able to create a distribution map of snow microalgae, which are distributed according to altitude. For example, those like Blood, who give the color red because of their concentration in carotenes, are found only from 2,000 meters, while Symbiochloris proliferate lower, at 1,500 meters.

Some questions remain unanswered: what are all the microalgae species populating the snow? How do they manage to withstand extreme weather conditions? What is the effect of warming on blooms ? Conversely, what is their effect on source of snow ? Scientists will try to answer it.


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