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Course, academic year 2019/2020
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Ecology of the Cryosphere - MB162P30
Title in English: Ecology of the Cryosphere
Czech title: Ekologie kryosféry
Guaranteed by: Department of Ecology (31-162)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2015
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: summer s.:oral
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Level: specialized
Guarantor: Mgr. Marek Stibal, Ph.D.
Opinion survey results   Examination dates   Schedule   
Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (28.04.2015)
The aim of this course is to introduce the cryosphere as an important and rapidly changing yet relatively unknown
part of the Earth’s system and a biome that contains distinct ecosystems and communities. Emphasis will be
placed on recent and/or current research by the lecturers. This course will be principally focused on ecosystem-
scale processes within the cryosphere and is complementary to the courses Winter Ecology and Polar Ecology.
The course will be in English.
Literature -
Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (29.04.2015)

Anesio A.M., Laybourn-Parry J. (2012) Glaciers and ice sheets as a biome. Trends Ecol. Evol. 27, 219-225.

Benn D., Evans D. J. A. (2010) Glaciers and Glaciation. Hodder Arnold Publication.

Hodson A. J. et al. (2008) Glacial ecosystems. Ecol. Monogr. 78, 41-67.

Jansson J. K, Taş N. (2014) The microbial ecology of permafrost. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 12, 414-425.

Jones H. G. et al. (2011) Snow Ecology. An Interdisciplinary Examination of Snow-Covered Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press.

Laybourn-Parry J., Tranter M., Hodson A. J. (2012) The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments. Oxford University Press.

Stibal M., Šabacká M., Žárský J. (2012) Biological processes on glacier and ice sheet surfaces. Nat. Geosci. 5, 771-774.

Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (28.04.2015)

1. Introduction to the cryosphere (Marek, Jakub) Physics of frozen water • Cryosphere as part of the Earth’s system • The icy biome

2. Physics and chemistry of snow (Jakub)

3. Snow ecology (Jakub)

4. Glaciers and ice sheets (guest lecturer Jacob Yde, Sogndal University) Formation of glacial ice • Glacier types • Glacier hydrology • History of glaciation • Glaciers as landscape architects

5. Glacier ecology I: The supraglacial ecosystem (Marek) Energy and nutrient sources for glacier surfaces • Cryoconite holes • Surface ice • Supraglacial lakes • Real world example: Ice algae and albedo feedback on the Greenland ice sheet

6. Glacier ecology II: The subglacial ecosystem (Marek) Energy and nutrient sources for glacier beds • Basal ice • Subglacial sediments • Subglacial lakes • Real world example: The bed of the Antarctic ice sheet as a methane reservoir

7. Glacier ecology III: The englacial ecosystem (Marek) Limitations for life within glacial ice • Ice cores as past climate proxies

8. Glacier ecology IV: Glacial ecosystems in the warming world (Marek) Transition to proglacial ecosystems • Ecological succession of deglaciated land • Export of organisms and nutrients from glaciers to downstream ecosystems • Real world example: Export of microbial activity from beneath the Greenland ice sheet

9. Lake ice (guest lecturer Birgit Sattler, University of Innsbruck)

10. Sea ice (Marek)

11. Permafrost ecology (Marek) Energy and nutrient sources for permafrost • Permafrost thawing and greenhouse gas release • Real world example: Seasonal change in the microbial community in the active layer of permafrost in Svalbard

12. The future of the cryosphere (Marek, Jakub)

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