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Life on Antarctic Icebergs
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Life on Antarctic Icebergs

July 27, 2010
Icebergs hold trapped terrestrial material, which they release far out at sea as they melt, producing a "halo effect" with significantly increased nutrients, chlorophyll and krill out to a radius of more than 3 kilometers (2 miles).

Scientists have discovered that these floating ice islands--some as large as a dozen miles across--have a major impact on the ecology of the ocean around them, serving as "hotspots" for ocean life, with thriving communities of seabirds above and a web of phytoplankton, krill and fish below. Scientists also have begun to suspect (though additional study is needed) that icebergs may also play a surprising role in global climate regulation by removing carbon from the atmosphere.


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