Biology and ice – University of Copenhagen

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Centre for Ice and Climate > Research > Biology and ice

DNA remnants from ancient ecosystems are preserved in the basal ice under the Greenland ice sheet as well as under other major ice sheets. These DNA remains hold important information about the climatic profiles of previous interglacial periods and about previously unknown biological diversity.

Reconstruction of past ecosystems and climate using ”fossil” DNA
Ice cores drilled in Greenland and in Antarctica provide access to frozen molecular remnants – also called “ancient“ aDNA. By examining these genetic remnants, researchers can reconstruct prehistoric climate conditions, biodiversity and the composition of ecosystems.

 




Biodiversity and response to climate change
An interdisciplinary collaboration between research in climate and biology opens up for a new insight that will help us to understandwhy species adapt, become extinct or arise in periods with climate change.

 

 

 
Dating
The basal ice, which can be found close to the bedrock below the big ice sheets, is often folded and a mix between younger and older ice. In order to be able to determine the age of this layer of ice, researchers use a combination of different physical and biological methods.