Proteins secreted by the algae Melosira arctica ensure optimal conditions for survival inside watery bubbles in this extremely cold environment by manipulating the formation of ice around the bubble.

Melosira arctica algae dwell within bubbles in sea ice and have evolved ice-binding s (IBPs) to make their icy home more habitable. These proteins aggregate into gooey clusters that clog the openings of nascent bubbles during ice formation. This retains liquid water within the bubble, which the algae depend on to survive, and prevents the algae from being pushed out and away from the surface of the ice where sunlight for is more intense. In addition, the proteins influence the shape of the ice around the bubble and the salinity of the water inside which benefit algae survival.

Last Updated August 23, 2016