Dr. Johan C. Faust 

Universität Bremen, GERMANY
Jul 2022 - Jun 2025
Associate Junior Fellow

Johan C. Faust

Projects & Publications

Workshop Abstract
Emerging or disappearing ice on Earth´ssurface is one of the clearest indications for a changing climate.
Reconstructing past glacier activities is however challenging, partly due to the lack of distinct glacier
proxies. Glacier algae, photoautotrophic extremophilic organisms, live at the bare ice surface of
glaciers and ice sheets in all alpine and polar regions on Earth. They are characterized by dark vacuolar
pigments and are members of a single algae class, Zygnematophyceae (Chlorophyta). The
environmental robustness of these glacier algae, their global appearance, and the circumstances of
their highly specific and restricted habitat on bare ice provokes the question if they could be used as
glacier proxy. There are indications that these algae produce specific molecular components which can
be track in marine sediments over long timescales. The proposed workshop focuses on the potential
of glacier algae to act as a proxy for glacial activity in marine and lacustrine sediments. The goal of the
workshop is to design an international research proposal to collect algae samples from Greenland ice
sheet and to identify their molecular signature. Therefore, during the workshop we will discuss the
eco-biological behavior of the ice algae, their molecular composition and the methodological needs
for the proxy identification and development, as well as the possibility and feasibility of sampling
campaigns and locations