Archives par mot-clé : Phytoplankton

Algae thrive under Greenland sea ice

by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, January 8, 2019 in ScicneDaily

Microscopic marine plants flourish beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea, according to a new study. These phytoplankton create the energy that fuels ocean ecosystems, and the study found that half of this energy is produced under the sea ice in late winter and early spring, and the other half at the edge of the ice in spring.

Glacier depth affects plankton blooms off Greenland

by Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Auhsut 14, 2018 in ScienceDaily

The unusual timing of highly-productive summer plankton blooms off Greenland indicates a connection between increasing amounts of meltwater and nutrients in these coastal waters. Researchers now show that this connection exists, but is much more complex than widely supposed. Whether increasing meltwater has a positive or negative effect on summertime phytoplankton depends on the depth at which a glacier sits in the ocean.

“So, the study shows that further melting of Greenland’s glaciers only leads to stronger summer plankton blooms under very specific conditions, an effect that will ultimately end with very extensive further melting,” Hopwood summarizes the results of the study.

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.

The gypsum gravity chute: A phytoplankton-elevator to the ocean floor


Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, May 22, 2018 in ScienceDaily

When marine algae die, they usually float in slow motion to the ocean’s depths. However, during an expedition with the research icebreaker Polarstern to the Arctic in the spring of 2015, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) discovered a phenomenon that significantly accelerate this transport: tiny gypsum crystals, which form during the freezing of salt in the porous spaces of Arctic sea ice, weigh down the phytoplankton like heavy ballast, pulling them to the bottom within a matter of hours. The effect is like an express elevator for the carbon they contain. “This mechanism was previously completely unknown,” says marine bio-geologist Dr Jutta Wollenburg … (…)

In times of climate change: What a lake’s color can tell about its condition

by Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB), September 21, in ScienceDaily

With the help of satellite observations from 188 lakes worldwide, scientists have shown that the warming of large lakes amplifies their color. Lakes which are green due to their high phytoplankton content tend to become greener in warm years as phytoplankton content increases. Clear, blue lakes with little phytoplankton, on the other hand, tend to become even bluer in warm years caused by declines in phytoplankton. Thus, contrary to previous assumptions, the warming of lakes tends to amplify their richness or poverty of phytoplankton.

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