Maine scientist finds tiny plants thrive under Greenland ice

EAST BOOTHBAY, Maine (AP) — A study authored by a scientist with a Maine lab said microscopic plants are able to thrive beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea.

Bigelow Laboratory in East Boothbay said the study will help researchers better understand the importance of the plants, called phytoplankton. Senior research scientist Paty Matrai of Bigelow authored the study, which appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

The lab said the study found half the energy created by the phytoplankton is produced under the sea ice in late winter and early spring. The rest is produced at the edge of the ice in spring.

Studying the Greenland Sea has long been difficult because of sea ice and the long polar night. Bigelow said researchers on the project used new technology to make their discovery.