Libby Hausrath, associate professor in the UNLV Department of Geoscience, will speak at an upcoming Science Café Las Vegas. Her talk is titled, "What causes pink snow? Interactions of snow algae, minerals, and microorganisms in low-nutrient snowy environments."
Organisms that grow in snow such as the snow algae Chlamydomonas nivalis are astonishingly successful in challenging high UV, low nutrient snow environments. Their distributions range from both poles to alpine environments on all continents where they can reach concentrations of over one million cells per ml. High concentrations of snow algae can also decrease snow albedo by up to one half, increasing local melt rates and potentially contributing to the global heat budget and water cycle. Observations of minerals and microorganisms attached to the cell walls of snow algae suggest that interactions between snow algae, minerals, and microorganisms may help meet nutritional needs in low-nutrient snow environments. Hausrath will discuss field and laboratory analyses in which she examines these interactions between snow algae, microorganisms. and minerals.
Come join others for a lively science discussion, delicious food, and fun. Come at 6:30 p.m. to order your food and mingle. Those under 21 are welcome.