Why does this matteR?
Researchers are discovering that fjords along the west Antarctic Peninsula are hotspots of biological activity and biodiversity. Intense phytoplankton blooms occur throughout the summer feeding animals that live in the water and on the seafloor. One of the most crucial animals to the Antarctic ecosystem are krill. Krill feed penguins, seals, and whales. Antarctica remains the most pristine region in the world. Yet, despite it’s remoteness, it is experiencing the most rapid rates of warming due to climate change.
The Arctic is an ocean covered with drifting ice, hemmed in by surrounding continents. In winter new ice forms and snow accumulates. In summer, the ice melts rapidly, winds and currents keep the pack ice in forever motion, forming great pressure ridges. Fjords in the Arctic are not thought to be biodiversity hotspots like those in Antarctica.