The cryosphere is now acknowledged as a unique biome that, in spite of the cold and harsh conditions, is inhabited by a diverse range of micro- and macro-organisms. The organisms play important roles in the cycling of carbon, nutrients and other elements within and around cryosphere. The cryosphere ecosystem is sensitive to recent climate change, such as changes in snow and ice cover under warming conditions. Melting and the crystallization of snow and ice are not purely physical phenomena, but are enhanced or even induced by the presence and activity of organisms. For example, supra-glacial microbes can darken and increase melting on glaciers and ice sheets, while some species of bacteria can act as ice nucleators. Micro-organisms have also been shown to be important in englacial systems and beneath glaciers and ice sheets. Biological processes on, within and under the ice are still insufficiently understood, and therefore not well considered in present models of the Earth system. Most organisms in the cryosphere are physiologically adapted to low temperatures and an improved understanding of these mechanisms has great potential for application to agriculture, food science, medical and material engineering.
This symposium will provide an opportunity for glaciologists and biologists to meet each other to discuss the various phenomena of life in the cold.
The goals of this symposium are:
(1) to provide a forum for presenting the current knowledge of life and ecosystems in the cryosphere;
(2) to discuss the important gaps in our understanding of interactions between biological activity and physical/chemical phenomena in the cryosphere, from molecular to system level;
and (3) to encourage participants to form a new scientific community, discussing the state and direction of glacial biology or bio-glaciology.


We welcome all submissions for presentation under the broad topics of glaciology in the biosphere and/or biology in the cryosphere. The key focus areas are:

1. Microbes and biogeochemistry in glaciers and ice sheets; including algae and bacteria in supra-, en- and sub- glacial environments; darkening and melt enhancement of glaciers by biogenic impurities; biogeochemistry in subglacial aquatic environments; nutrient cycle in glaciers; biogeography of glacial microbes; microbes on seasonal snow and lake ice.

2. The role of sea ice, icebergs, and glacier calving fronts in marine ecosystems; including the effects of sea ice and glacial melt water on marine biota; glacier fjord ecosystems; ecology of ice algae; and changing polar marine ecosystems in global warming.

3. Permafrost and terrestrial biota; including the ecology of tundra and forest in polar and alpine regions; vegetation and soil microbes on permafrost; the ecological succession of glacier forefields; microbes in seasonal snow and lake ice; and the carbon cycle of permafrost region.

4. Interaction between snow cover and forest: snow cover in forested regions; forest ecology in snow-covered regions; living snow fences; avalanche protection forests.

5.Cryosphere ecosystems and climate change: observations, data gathering and modelling of ecosystems across different time scales, including glacial-interglacial cycles and snowball earth events; projection of polar and alpine ecosystems in future global warming scenarios.

6. Biological ice nucleation, including ecology of ice nucleation bacteria; global and local impact of biological ice nucleation; dynamics of bio-aerosol; ice crystallization or ice segregation in plant and fungi; and ice nucleation activity in vertebrates and invertebrates.

7. Biomarkers and biogeochemistry in ice cores and frozen ground, including analysis of microbes, pollen grains, and other organic substances as a proxy of past environments; modifications of chemical compositions of soluble ions and air in ice by microbial activity; and analytical technology of DNA and other biogenic substances for ice core study.

8. Physiology of cold adaptation and applications of biogenic material to low temperature technology, including adaptation of organisms to low temperature environments at the whole-organisms, system, or molecular levels; anti-freeze and/or ice binding proteins; cryopreservation of organisms; and applications to food processing.

9. Emerging areas of cryosphere/biosphere research.

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