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 red algae. This is important because at 1.6 billion years old (that’s 1,600,000,000 years) this is the oldest fossil of this type of algae described to date. These red algae fossils are also much older than most biological models said they should be. This could mean that more types of organisms have been around longer than we thought!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 […]
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?
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.
Following the guts of fish species is sometimes the best way to track small, mobile crustacean prey.
Scientists use ocean color from satellites to show that tiny ocean plankton may be responsible for making clouds brighter around Antarctica.
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?
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.
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 of future blooms?
NASA satellites reveal artistic swirls of phytoplankton dancing across the ocean surface. This new study explains the dynamic predator-prey imbalances that occur to create these spectacular space-worthy images.
Article: Lehahn, Y. et al. Decoupling Physical from Biological Processes to Assess the Impact of Viruses on a Mesoscale Algal Bloom.Current Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.07.046 Background Despite their small size, phytoplankton play an incredibly large role in maintaining ocean food webs and can even contribute to global climate. As plants, phytoplankton consume carbon dioxide and fix it […]
Volcanic ash may be an important source of the valuable micronutrients iron and manganese to phytoplankton populations in areas with low chlorophyll, such as the Southern Ocean.
Humans are not the only species that apply suntan lotion to prevent sunburns. Microbes all over the globe produce their own suntan lotion, called MAAs, to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.