|Long days and long nights: An integrative study reveals survival strategies of an Antarctic diatom during the cold and dark polar winter
|Year of Publication
|aquatic habitats, circadian cycle, light environments, phytoplankton, polar
The vast majority of photosynthetic organisms on Earth have evolved under a circadian cycle, with many cellular processes being regulated by the predictable patterns of day and night. Polar algal species living in Arctic and Antarctic aquatic habitats are faced with bizarre light environments of continuous light during the short summer months and 24-h darkness during the winter, that is one long day transitioning into one long, cold night. It is well known that polar phytoplankton survive the winter and return in the summer to form blooms. In an article recently published in New Phytologist, Joli et al. (2023, doi: 10.1111/nph.19387) use an integrative approach to dissect how an Antarctic marine diatom not only survives the long, dark polar winter, but also recovers rapidly upon the onset of summer.