RESOURCES: Windows on Arctic Climate

Science  12 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5566, pp. 223
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5566.223d

The tiny, glass-encased algae known as diatoms are windows on past climate. These organisms are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and other conditions, so the presence of particular species serves as an ideal environmental indicator. The National Diatom Database will allow researchers to track climatic variation in the Canadian Arctic using diatom collections. Compiled by the Geological Survey of Canada, this storehouse lets you unearth data on sampling locales throughout the country, including each site's exact geographical coordinates and the age of its sediments. The database will eventually expand to hold details of some 5000 fossil and recent collections and include a synopsis of the environmental requisites of some 1500 diatom species.

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