by Florida State University, July 18, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Deep in the ocean’s twilight zone, swarms of ravenous single-celled organisms may be altering Earth’s carbon cycle in ways scientists never expected, according to a new study from Florida State University researchers.
In the area 100 to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface — dubbed the twilight zone because of its largely impenetrable darkness — scientists found that tiny organisms called phaeodarians are consuming sinking, carbon-rich particles before they settle on the seabed, where they would otherwise be stored and sequestered from the atmosphere for millennia.
This discovery, researchers suggest, could indicate the need for a re-evaluation of how carbon circulates throughout the ocean, and a new appraisal of the role these microorganisms might play in Earth’s shifting climate.
The findings were published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.