Press release

Sea Ice Alga Melosira arctica – winner or loser of climate change?

Many unicellular Melosira arctica are coated from jellyies are hanging under an ice floe. Foto und ©: Julian Gutt, AWI

One of the most important microalgal species from the Arctic Ocean, Melosira arctica, has been nominated “Alga of the Year” by the German Phycology Section. Scientists will use Melosira as a model to understand consequences of climate change. “Currently no one can foresee whether Melosira will benefit or suffer from the melting of sea ice, and nobody knows why it is so productive under such hostile conditions,” says biologist Klaus Valentin from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). He is a Member of the Phycological Section within the Germany Botanical Society, which selected Melosira as Alga of the year 2016.

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Press release

More images of the alga Melosira arctica

The "curtains" of Melosira arctica hanging from the ice floe are about three meters lang. Photo and ©: Julian Gutt, AWI

Photos for the press release alga of the year 2016: Sea Ice Alga Melosira arctica – winner or loser of climate change?


Use of the images is only permitted in connection with reporting on the topic ‘alga of the year 2016’ and only if the photographers are acknowledged in the format: first name, second name, institution. Commercial use of the images is not permitted.

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Literature and Links

Stecher, A. , Neuhaus, S. , Lange, B. , Frickenhaus, S. , Beszteri, B. , Kroth, P. G. and Valentin, K. U. (2015): rRNA and rDNA based assessment of sea ice protist biodiversity from the central Arctic Ocean, European Journal of Phycology, DOI:

Irena Kaczmarska, Regine Jahn (2006): Taxonomic appraisal of Melosira arctica Dickie and description of a new variety (Bacillariophyta). Botanica Marina 49 (2006): 151–164. doi:

Antje Boetius, Sebastian Albrecht, Karel Bakker, Christina Bienhold, Janine Felden, Mar Fernández-Méndez, Stefan Hendricks, Christian Katlein, Catherine Lalande, Thomas Krumpen, Marcel Nicolaus, Ilka Peeken, Ben Rabe, Antonina Rogacheva, Elena Rybakova, Raquel Somavilla, Frank Wenzhöfer, and the RV Polarstern ARK-XXVII/3-Shipboard Science Party (2013): Export of algal biomass from the melting Arctic sea ice. Science. doi:

Contacts for the media

Dr. Klaus Valentin

Principal Investigator

Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Am Handelshafen 12,
D-27570 Bremerhaven
Phone: +49 (0)471-48 31 14 52
E-mail: klaus.valentin[at]

Dr. Regine Jahn

Expert for Diatoms and deputy speaker of the Phycology Section

Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem
Freie Universität Berlin
Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8
D-14195 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30-838-50142
E-mail: r.jahn[at]

Futher Information

Members of the Phycology Section (Algology) ( conduct research on algae and investigate, amongst others, taxonomical, ecological, physiological and molecular topics on macro- and microalgae. The Section promotes algal research and supports young scientists. The Section is one of five subject-specific Sections of the German Society for Plant Sciences (Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, DBG,