Snow algae on a Patagonian glacier

The Patagonian glaciers looks very beautiful, they are made of blue transpearent ice, suggesting less biomass on the glaciers. Hoewever, several species of snow algae were found on a Patagonian glaciers (green algae and cyanobacteria). The species are different from other places in the Northern Hemisphere such as Himalaya or Alaska. Following algae are collected on Tyndall Glacier, Chile.

Green algae

  • Cylindrocystis brebissonii
  • Ancylonema sp.
  • Mesotaenium breggrenii
  • Closterium sp.
  • Unknown alga.
  • Chloromonas sp.


  • Oscillatoriaceae alga 1

Cylindrocystis brebissonii (Green alga)

This is the dominant alga on the glacier

Ancylonema sp.(Greeen alga)

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

Mesotaenium breggrenii

This alga is the common species on ice surface in world wide

Closterium sp.

This species can be found on Patagonian glaciers

Chloromonas sp.

This alga makes "red snow" on the Patagonian glacier.

Unknown alga

Oscillatoriaceae alga (cyanobacteria)


  • Takeuchi, N., and Koshima, S. (2004): A snow algal community on a Patagonian glacier, Tyndall glacier in the Southern Patagonia Icefield. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 36(1), 91-98.
  • Takeuchi, N., Kohshima, S., Shiraiwa, T., and Kubota, K. (2001) Characteristics of cryoconite (surface dust on glaciers) and surface albedo of a Patagonian glacier, Tyndall Glacier, Southern Patagonia Icefield, Bulletin of Glaciological Research, 18, 65-69.

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