Related topics: ocean · carbon dioxide

What phytoplankton physiology has to do with global climate

Phytoplankton, tiny photosynthetic organisms in the ocean, play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and influence Earth's climate. A new study reveals how variations in the physiology of phytoplankton, particularly ...

Assessing controls on ocean productivity—from space

Phytoplankton determine how much life the ocean is able to support and play a role in controlling atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, thereby regulating our climate. These tiny marine plants depend on sunlight as well ...

Microalgae can detoxify methylmercury, study finds

In the search for ways to fight methylmercury in global waterways, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovered that some forms of phytoplankton are good at degrading the potent neurotoxin.

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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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