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Phytoplankton

This tag is associated with 38 posts

What your poop says about your diet: Iron in the ocean is controlled by zooplankton diet and poop

Have you ever had weird colored poop? Just like your poop can tell you what you’ve been eating lately, zooplankton poop can tell you what they’ve been feeding on. Iron in zooplankton poop is used as a nutrient by phytoplankton to boost their growth and absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Therefore, understanding how […]

Winter Cruisin’ on the North Atlantic

Do you wonder what it is like to do oceanographic research aboard a sea-going vessel? What types of research are conducted out at sea? Where do the scientists set up their labs? Read this article to find out more about research at sea! Diana FontaineI am a second year PhD student in the Rynearson Lab […]

Catch prey while the sun shines – Herring grow bigger when they can see their food

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sea creature in possession of a home in higher latitudes (further from the equator), must (on average) possess more size than its mid latitude neighbors. But why should high latitude fish be in possession of such a good fortune? Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological […]

Icebergs Fertilize Phytoplankton Growth

Icebergs contain iron, the limiting nutrient for phytoplankton in the polar regions. Icebergs, therefore, have the potential to stimulate biological productivity and carbon uptake. However, this will depend on the iceberg iron content, which is not well known. Therefore, a recent study sought to quantify the variability in iceberg iron content and subsequent carbon uptake. […]

Atmospheric traffic jams halt nutrient flow to ocean phytoplankton

It is known that climate change is influencing our oceans in many direct ways, but what about changes in atmospheric wind patterns? Winds drive ocean currents, and these currents carry nutrients to support marine food webs. But what happens when the winds are at a stand-still? Read on to find out if the answer is […]

Who’s benefiting from increasing CO2?

Bach, L. T., Hernández-Hernández, N., Taucher, J., Spisla, C., Sforna, C., Riebesell, U., & Arístegui, J. (2019). Effects of elevated CO2 on a natural diatom community in the subtropical NE Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 75. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00075 As the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere steadily increases, oceans are taking up more […]

Phytoplankton Bloom Driven by Volcanic Eruption

A large volcanic eruption in 2018 deposited tons of lava into the Pacific Ocean. Scientists were puzzled that the lava-impacted region of the ocean had explosive growth of microalgae called phytoplankton. They discovered that the lava was heating nutrient-rich waters at the seafloor, which made them rise up to the surface. Channing PrendI’m a physical […]

How important is carbon export by ocean eddies?

A recent paper uses an ocean model to investigate the relative importance of carbon sequestration by eddies transporting phytoplankton into the ocean interior. Results suggest that eddies may not be as important as we thought due to the compensation between transport by clockwise and counter-clockwise eddies. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps […]

Antarctic phytoplankton blooms linked to seafloor topography

A recent study uses observations from robotic floats to examine phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean. The data show that biological productivity is closely linked to seafloor topography. This is because currents flowing over seamounts cause enhanced mixing that delivers nutrients to the sunlit upper ocean where phytoplankton grow. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD […]

Rugged Southern Ocean phytoplankton weather the storm(s)

Phytoplankton from the “wild west” of the world’s oceans have learned to regrow after storms… over and over and over again. Nyla HusainI’m a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. I use models to study how small-scale physical processes at the air-sea interface – like waves – impact wind […]

Small currents influence small creatures

Phytoplankton, the tiny photosynthesizing organisms in the ocean, tend to just go with the flow. Even the smallest currents can push them around. But how much does this rearranging actual matter for plankton populations? Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research in the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging […]

Phytoplankton Expanding Northward as Arctic Sea Ice Retreats

A recent study uses satellite data to show that Arctic sea ice retreat is causing changes in the timing and location of spring phytoplankton blooms, which play a large role in the regional ecosystem and carbon cycle. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use […]

Millennial algae are not as productive: lazy, or less sea ice opportunities?

Why aren’t Arctic phytoplankton as productive as they used to be? Is it a lazy millennial thing, or something more complex and systematic? Researchers use observations to learn more about this generation of phytoplankton, and what it could mean for Gen Z and beyond… Nyla HusainI’m a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island […]

Preparing for Research at Sea: Behind the Scenes

Research at sea is no small feat! Read this guest post by URI GSO SURFO student Anna Ward about her experiences helping prepare for a cruise expedition! 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 […]

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 PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. I use models to study […]

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. […]

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