Snow algae on Himalayan glaciers

Several species of snow algae were observed on Himalayan glaciers (green algae and cyanobacteria). Each species has some preferable conditions on the glaciers. Most of the species are common in other places in the Northern Hemisphere. Following algae are collected on Yala Glacier in the Langtang Valley, Nepal

Cylindrocystis brebissonii (Green alga)

This alga is dominant species in the ice area of the glacier. This species can be observed on Alaska and Arctic.

Ancylonema nordenskioldii (Greeen alga)

This can be observed on the ice area. This species is also common in arctic and Alaskan glaciers.

Mesotaenium breggrenii (common on ice in world wide)

This is dominant at middle elevation (snow line) of the glacier. This is also common in arctic, antarctic, alaska, patagonian glaciers.

Raphidonema sp.

Trosiscia sp.

This is dominant species in the snow area of the glacier. (upper part, above snow line)

Chloromonas nivalis

Oscillatoriaceae alga 1 (cyanobacteria)

This is observed in the ice area. This filoumentous algae form granular algal mats on the ice surface (cryoconite granule)

Oscillatoriaceae alga 2 (cyanobacteria)

This is finner filoument than Osci. 1. This is also observed in the ice area.


  • Yoshimura, Y., Kohshima, S., and Ohtani, S., 1997: A community of snow algae on a Himalayan glacier: Change of algal biomass and community structure with altitude. Arctic and Alpine Research, 29: 126-137.
  • Takeuchi, N., Kohshima, S., and Fujita, K. (1998) Snow Algae Community on a Himalayan Glacier, Glacier AX010 East Nepal: Relationship with Glacier Summer Mass Balance. Bulletin of Glacier Research, 16, 43-50. [Abstract]

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