Ice sheets of the last ice age seeded the ocean with essential nutrient silica

by University of Bristol, August 10, 2018 in ScienceDaily

Silica is needed by a group of marine algae (the microscopic plants of the oceans) called diatoms, who use it to build their glassy cell walls (known as frustules).

These plankton take up globally significant amounts of carbon — they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, and act as a natural carbon sink when they die and fall to the bottom of the ocean — and form the base of the marine food chain.

The researchers are also planning to use more complex and realistic computer models to delve deeper into the potential changes in the global silica cycle since the last glacial maximum. These might include more accurate representations of ocean currents, recycling of silica in the water column, and potential changes to the marine algal community.