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Phytoplankton

This tag is associated with 24 posts

Sea Ice Modifies Biological Processes

A recent study investigates the relationship between sea ice variability and phytoplankton growth in climate models. Phytoplankton are responsible for most of the transfer of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the ocean, therefore this work can help us understand and predict how the ocean’s ability to regulate climate might change in the future.     Channing […]

Cyanobacteria invasions… from space?

They may not come from space, but they can be seen from up there! Learn how microscopic plants called cyanobacteria accumulate in the Baltic Sea, how they’re measured with satellites, and what it all means. Nyla HusainI’m a 4th year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. I use models to […]

Solstice Strategies for Survival: Yule be amazed!

Winter blues got ya down? For some organisms on our planet, the shortened days may influence their very survival. On this, the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, read on to find out how one type of tiny marine algae cope with the low-light conditions, and may even thrive compared to their […]

The answer to starvation? Diversity

Photosynthetic microorganisms can’t go it alone, so they succeed by playing host to a diverse array of microbial partners Michael GrawI’m a 5th year PhD student at Oregon State University researching the microbial ecology of marine sediments – why do we find microbes where they are in the seafloor, and what are they doing there? […]

Connecting production to glacial meltwater

As sea-ice disappears, many scientists predict that primary production will increase in high latitude regions. A Danish group adds some nuance to this prediction based on a recent study off the coast of Greenland. Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research in the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging […]

The Missing Mechanism: How Ocean Fronts Impact Sinking Organic Matter

Phytoplankton are central to the ocean’s carbon cycle, converting carbon dioxide into organic molecules that sink into the sea’s interior. But the ocean is moving and variable. As a result, we don’t have good estimates of how many of these phytoplankton-made molecules exit the upper ocean where phytoplankton reside. Find out how Stukel et al. […]

Put your cilia in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care

A new study out of Woods Hole sheds some light on how marine phytoplankton enhance their ability to take up nutrients. Using fancy cameras and powerful models, the researchers suggest that short, rapid swimming bursts allow organisms to escape to greener pastures. Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His […]

Red dead algae

Life on earth has been evolving for a long time – billions of years! The timing of when different kinds of life developed is controversial, but can tell us about the conditions of earth in the past. A group of scientists in Sweden looked at ancient fossils from India, and found what they describe as […]

Studying plankton from an atmospheric satellite

Scientists found a way to repurpose data from an atmospheric satellite to study the tiny creatures at the base of most ocean food webs. The instrument, originally designed to study aerosols, allowed researchers to build the most complete record of polar plankton activity ever assembled. Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution […]

Not better together: complex pollutant soup spells trouble for marine phytoplankton

A group of international researchers have found that marine phytoplankton communities are susceptible to impairment from complex mixtures of organic pollutants found in oceanic environments. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann Lab. My current research interests include environmental chemistry, water […]

Tiny but tough: calcification in marine phytoplankton

Coccolithophores stand out from other marine phytoplankton in their ability to form calcified plates. Why is it beneficial for coccolithophores to calcify and how may these plates hold up under future ocean conditions? Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. I am interested in […]

Iceberg Buffet: How giant icebergs bring food to plankton

While icebergs are calving from Antarctic glaciers at alarming rates, they may provide a negative feedback for the carbon cycle. Giant icebergs bring large amounts of iron to iron-poor areas of the Southern Ocean, stimulating primary productivity and boosting carbon sequestration. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from […]

Plankton fill up ice-free summer homes

Source: Li, Y., R. Ji, S. Jenouvrier, M. Jin, and J. Stroeve (2016), Synchronicity between ice retreat and phytoplankton bloom in circum-Antarctic polynyas, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 2086–2093, doi:10.1002/2016GL067937. Antarctic coasts Despite the dark winters and freezing cold conditions, the coastline of Antarctica is a hotspot for growth of phytoplankton, the tiny, photosynthesizing organisms that […]

Killer food: the harmful effects of a diatom diet

What if a single bite out of your favorite cheeseburger was toxic to your health? In the ocean, copepods are faced with this issue when they feed on certain types of diatoms. Some diatoms produce toxins as a way to defend themselves from predators. How do these toxins effect hungry copepods? Sean AndersonI am a […]

Sailing the Southern Ocean for science

Hear about my adventures living on an icebreaker on the Southern Ocean, deploying ocean robots to understand the chemistry and biology of the Southern Ocean. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my […]

Always follow your gut, or in this case, follow the fish guts

Following the guts of fish species is sometimes the best way to track small, mobile crustacean prey. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs across the Florida Keys in order to help reverse the phase shift from algae dominated back […]

Tiny plankton make big clouds brighter

Scientists use ocean color from satellites to show that tiny ocean plankton may be responsible for making clouds brighter around Antarctica. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my research I sometimes spend […]

Carbon sinks: Diatoms in the deep sea

Fast-sinking phytoplankton particles deliver carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. Are plankton cells still able to survive when they sink to the deep ocean? If so, how long may they survive without any sunlight? Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. I […]

Time to rethink the role of ocean’s microbes?

Have you ever wondered what may live inside the tiniest drops of seawater? Global oceans are dominated by organisms we cannot even see. Marine microbes are resilient, incredibly diverse, and ecologically important. These microbes deserve a closer look. Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of […]

Sewage pollution running amuck in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon

Harmful algal blooms are common events that occur in coastal waters. In Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, nutrient groundwater runoff initiates massive and highly toxic bloom events. Harmful blooms spell trouble for the environmental health and economic value of the lagoon. How bad has this issue become and what can be done to minimize the severity […]

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