CORSACS (Controls on Ross Sea Algal Community Structure) is a three-year,
to determine how levels of
iron, sunlight, and carbon dioxide interact to determine the
types of algae that occur in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. The
VIMS component of the CORSACS program is headed by
Dr. Walker Smith.
The composition of the Ross Sea algal community is important because
it impacts local food webs and can ultimately affect the
atmospheric concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Different types of algae, such as
Phaeocystis antarctica and
diatoms, respond differently to increasing levels of dissolved carbon dioxide,
take up carbon dioxide and other forms of inorganic carbon at different rates, and are recycled
in different ways.
Funding for the CORSACS project comes from the National Science Foundation's
Office of Polar Programs.
This highly competitive program awards approximately 110 research grants each year to U.S. scientists for study in the Arctic and Antarctic.