Related topics: ocean · carbon dioxide

How deep-ocean vents fuel massive phytoplankton blooms

Researchers at Stanford University say they have found an aquatic highway that lets nutrients from Earth's belly sweep up to surface waters off the coast of Antarctica and stimulate explosive growth of microscopic ocean algae.

Mapping the global distribution of phytoplankton

Researchers at ETH have charted the distribution of phytoplankton in the world's oceans for the first time and investigated the environmental factors that explain this distribution. They concluded that plankton diversity ...

Study looks to iron from microbes for climate help

Distributing iron particles produced by bacteria could "fertilize" microscopic ocean plants and ultimately lower atmospheric carbon levels, according to a new paper in Frontiers.

Researchers discover new nitrogen source in Arctic

Scientists have revealed that the partnership between an alga and bacteria is making the essential element nitrogen newly available in the Arctic Ocean. The microbial process of "nitrogen fixation" converts the element into ...

Small animals with big impact

Copepods, the world's most common animal, release unique substances into the oceans. Concentrations of these substances are high enough to affect the marine food web, according to new research from the University of Gothenburg. ...

Ocean life in 3-D: Mapping phytoplankton with a smart AUV

Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain but are notoriously difficult for scientists to account for—a little like trying to identify and count motes of dust in the air. A truly independent underwater vehicle ...

Study shows algae thrive under Greenland sea ice

Microscopic marine plants flourish beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea, according to a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. These phytoplankton create the energy that fuels ocean ecosystems, ...

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Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words phyton, or "plant", and πλαγκτος ("planktos"), meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye. However, when present in high enough numbers, they may appear as a green discoloration of the water due to the presence of chlorophyll within their cells (although the actual color may vary with the species of phytoplankton present due to varying levels of chlorophyll or the presence of accessory pigments such as phycobiliproteins, xanthophylls, etc.).

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