Snow cover around the Antarctic station “Academician Vernadsky” has acquired a crimson color. Polar explorers found the reason for the “flowering” of the chlamydomonas algae.
Scientists studied snow samples under a microscope. Cells of organisms contain a red layer that protects against ultraviolet radiation.
Algae reproduce by spores that are not afraid of extreme temperatures and are stored in snow throughout the long winter. When weather conditions become favorable – it is summer in Antarctica [and the entire Southern Hemisphere] – the spores begin to sprout.
The phenomenon is characteristic not only for Antarctica, but also for glaciers in the Alps or the Arctic.