2008 Photo Contest, Nature, 3rd prize

Paul Nicklen

National Geographic

01 January, 2005

Millions of amphipods swarm under the Arctic sea pack, where they feed on phytoplankton and other micro-organisms. The ice plays a key role in their life cycle, giving them place to feed, have their young, and shelter from strong currents. Animals such as bowhead whales, which can live for up to 200 years, feed on these minute creatures. Ice is the very essence of this ecosystem. Sea ice - frozen seawater that moves with the ocean currents - provides an important habitat and resting place for many animals. In recent years satellite pictures show a dramatic reduction in Artic ice cover, which reached a record low in 2007. Many attribute the situation to global warming.

About the photographer

Paul Nicklen

As a young boy, Paul Nicklen, a Canadian-born polar specialist and marine biologist, moved to Baffin Island and spent his childhood among the Inuit people. From them he learned t...

This image is collected in