Snow algae literatures

Local snow algae

  • Arctic
    [Kol and Eurola 1974][Muller et al. 1998][Takeuchi et al. 2001]
  • Arctic sea ice
    [Melanikov, 1997][Vincent, 2000]
  • Greenland
    [Gerdel and Drouet, 1960][Kol, 1969]
  • Antarctic
    [Wharton et al. 1981][Ling and Seppelt 1993][Ling 1996]
  • Alaska
    [Takeuchi 2001] [Kol 1942][Kobayashi 1967]
  • North america (westcoast)
    [Thomas and Duval 1995][Wharton et al. 1985][Mosser et al. 1977][Thomas 1972][Stein and Amundsen 1967]
  • North america (eastcoast)
    [Duval and Hoham 2000]
  • Himalayas
    [Yoshimura et al 1997][Takeuchi et al. 1998]
  • Japan
    [Fukushima 1963]
  • New Guinea
    [Kol and Peterson 1976]
  • Europe
  • China
  • South Orkney Islands
    [Fogg 1967]


  • 11.1-52.1 * exp(4) cells/mL: Himalayas ablation ice [Yoshimura et al.1997]
    0.1-0.5 * exp(4) cells/mL: Himalayas accumulation area snow [Yoshimura et al. 1997]
  • 13 * exp(4) cells/mL, 10-150 Chl µg / L: Northamerica Tioga pass area. C. nivalis [Tomas 1972]
  • 0-10 * exp(4) cells /mL : North america red snow, C. nivalis [Thomas and Duval 1995]
  • 1.3-8.5 *exp(4) cells /mL: North america red snow, C. nivalis [Mosser et al. 1977]
  • 30-170 * exp(4) cells/mL: Spitsbergen [Müller et al.1998]
  • 0.6-37 * exp(4) cells /mL: Spitzbergen, algae and fungi. [Kol and Eurola 1974]


  • 0.05-0.97 (mean = 0.31) µgC fixed per mm3 cell vol/h
  • 0.009-0.058 (0.032) mgC per mg chl /h
    North america C. nivalis, [Mosser et al 1977]
  • 0.04-1.85 (0.61) µgC fixed per mm3 cell vol/h
    Czechoslovakia, [Komarek et al 1973]
  • 0.002-0.86 (0.28) µgC fixed per mm3 cell vol/h
    10 mg C m-2 day-1
    South orkney island, [Fogg, 1967]
  • 0.02-0.25 µg C /mL meltwater /h
    North america red snow, [Thomas and Duval 1995]
  • 2.57 mgC per mg chl a /h
    Ice algae Arctic
  • 1.37 mgC per mg chl a/h
    Ice algae Antarctic
  • Productivities is active even in resting spore of C. nivaris [Thomas 1972]

Dependence of temp, melt, potential

C nivalis, [Mosser et al. 1977]

Relationship with Bacteria

[Thomas and Duval 1995]

Albedo effect

Cryoconite containg snow algae substantially reduces albedo on a Himalyan glacier [Kohshima et al. 1993]

Negative correlation between albedo and cell numbers of snow algae on snow surface was observed. However, the effect of snow algae on albedo reduction is rather small due to patchly distributionÅD[Thomas and Duval 1995]

Snow algae Species

Chlamydomonas nivalis
Chloromonas (Scotiella)


  • Bidigare, R.R., Kennicutt II, M.C., Iturriaga, R., Harvey, H.R., Hoham, R.W., and Macko, S.A. 1993: A photoprotective function for secondary carotenoids of snow algae. J Phycol. 29, 427-434.
  • Duval, B. and Hoham, R.W. 2000: Snow algae in the northeasten U.S.: Photomicrographs, observations, and distribution of Choloromonas spp. (Chlorophyta) Rhodora, 102, 365-372.
  • Fogg, G.E. 1967: Observations on the snow algae of the South Orkney Islands. Phil. Trans. Roy Soc. London Ser B 252: 279-87.
  • Fukushima, H. 1963: Studies on cryophytes in Japan. Journal Yokohama Munic. Univ.., Ser. C43(144), 1-146.
  • Gerdel, R.W. and Drouet, F., 1960: The cryoconite of the Thule Area, Greenland. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society, 79: 256-272.
  • Hoham, R.W., Mullet, J.E., and Roemer, S.C. 1983: The life history and ecology of the snow alga Chloromonas polyptera comb. nov. (Chlorophyta, Volvocales). Canad. J. Bot. 61, 2416-2429.
  • Hoham, R.W. and Blinn, D.W. 1979: Distribution of cryophilic algae in an arid region, the American Southwest. Phycologia 18, 133-145.
  • Hoham, R.W. and Mullet, J.E. 1978: Chloromonas nivalis (Chod.) Hoh. & Mull. comb. nov., and additional comments on the snow alga, Scotiella. Phycologia 17, 106-107.
  • Hoham, R.W. 1975: Optimal temperatures and temperature ranges for growth of snow algae. Arctic and Alpine Research. 7, 13-24.
  • Hoham, R.W. 1973: Pleiomorphism in the snow alga, Raphidpnema nivale Lagerh. (Chlorophyta), and a revision of thegenus Raphidonema Lagerh. Syesis 6, 255-63.
  • Kewecka, B. 1981: Biology and ecology of snow algae. 2. Formation of splanospores in Chlamydomonas nivalis. Chlorophyta, Volvocales. Acta Hydrobiologia. 23, 211-216.
  • Kirst, G.O. and Wiencke, C. 1995: Ecophysiology of Polar algae. Journal of Phycology, 31, 181-199
  • Kobayashi, Y. 1967: Coloured snow with Chlamydomonas nivalis in the Alaskan Arctic and Spitsbergen. Bulltin of National Science Musium in Tokyo, 10 (2), 207-210.
  • Kol, E. and Flint, E. A., 1968: Kryobiologie. Biologie und Limnologie des Schnees und Eises. I. Kryovegetation. In Thienemann, A. (founder), Elster, H.-J. and Ohle, W. (eds.), Die Binnengewsser. Vol. 24. Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 216 pp.
  • Kol, E. and Peterson, J. A., 1976: Cryociology. In Hope, G. S., Peterson, J. A., Radak, U., and Allison, I. (eds.), The Equatorial Glaciers of New Guinea: Results of the 1971-1973 Australian Universities’ Expeditions to Irian Jaya: Survey, Glaciology, Meteorology, Biology and Paleoenvironments. Rotterdam: Balkema, 81-91.
  • Kol, E. and S. Eurola., 1974: Red snow algae from Spitsbergen. Astarte, 7: 61-66.
  • Kol, E., 1942: The snow and ice algae of Alaska. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 101: 1-36.
  • Kol, E., 1969: The red snow of Greenland. II. Acta Botanica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 15(3-4): 281-289.
  • Ling, H. U. and Seppelt, R. D., 1993: Snow algae of the Windmill Island, continental Antarctica. 2. Chloromonas rubroleosa sp. nov. (Volvocales, Chlrophyta), an alga of red snow. European Journal of Phycology, 28: 77-84.
  • Mosser, J.L., Mosser, A.G., and Brock, T.D. 1977: Photosysthesis in the snow: the alga chlamydomonas nivalis (Chlorophyceae). Journal of Phycolosy, 13, 22-27.
  • Muller, T., Bleiß, W., Martin C-D., Rpgaschewski, S., Fuhr, G. 1998: Snow algae from northwest Svalbard: Their identification, distribution, pigment and nutrient content. Polar Biology, 20, 14-32.
  • Stein, J.R. and Amundsen C.C. 1967: Studies on snow algae and fungi from the front range of colorado. Canadian Journal of Botany, 45, 2033-2045.
  • Stein, J.R. and Bisalputra, T. 1968: Crystalline bodies in an algal chloroplast. Canadian Journal of Botany, 47, 233-236.
  • Thomas, W.H. 1972: Observations on snow algae in California. Journal of Phycology, 8, 1-9.
  • Thomas, W.H. and Duval, B., 1995: Sierra Nevada, California, U.S.A., Snow algae: snow albedo changes, algal-bacterial Interrelationships, and ultraviolet radiation effects. Arctic and alpine research, 27, 389-399.
  • Wharton, R. A., McKay, C. P., Simmons, G. M., and Parker, B. C., 1985: Cryoconite holes on glaciers. BioScience, 35: 449-503.
  • Wharton, R. A., Vinyard, B. C., Parker, G. M., Simmons, G. M., Jr., and Seaburg, K. G., 1981: Algae in cryoconite holes on Canada Glacier in Southern Victorialand, Antarctica. Phycologia, 20: 208-211.
  • 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.

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