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Small zooplankton rings the alarm for oxygen loss in big oceans

"Hypoxia, a low level of oxygen that limits the physiological functions of animals, is a topic that fascinates many biologists. As climate change progresses, the frequency of hypoxic episodes in aquatic environments is increasing, putting fish species under stress and even reducing populations in some cases. But it is not only fish that suffer the ill effects of hypoxia. [...]"

Source: Journal of Experimental Biology
Author: Yangfan Zhang
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.199141

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Phytoplankton calcifiers control nitrate cycling and the pace of transition in warming icehouse and cooling greenhouse climates

Abstract.

"Phytoplankton calcifiers contribute to global carbon cycling through their dual formation of calcium carbonate and particulate organic carbon (POC). The carbonate might provide an efficient export pathway for the associated POC to the deep ocean, reducing the particles' exposure to biological degradation in the upper ocean and increasing the particle settling rate. Previous work has suggested ballasting of POC by carbonate might increase in a warming climate, in spite of increasing carbonate dissolution rates, because calcifiers benefit from the widespread nutrient limitation arising from stratification. [...]"

Source: Biogeosciences
Authors: Karin F. Kvale et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-16-1019-2019

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Planktonic food web structure and trophic transfer efficiency along a productivity gradient in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean

Abstract.

"Oligotrophic and productive areas of the ocean differ in plankton community composition and biomass transfer efficiency. Here, we describe the plankton community along a latitudinal transect in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean. Prochlorococcus dominated the autotrophic community at the surface and mixed layer of oligotrophic stations, replaced by phototrophic picoeukaryotes and Synechococcus in productive waters. [...]"

Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: Laia Armengol et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-38507-9

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Much of the surface ocean will shift in color by end of 21st century

"Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world's oceans, and a new MIT study finds that over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean's color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones. Satellites should detect these changes in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes to marine ecosystems. [...]"

Source: ScienceDaily

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Ocean colour signature of climate change

Abstract.

"Marine calcifiers are considered to be among the most vulnerable taxa to climate-forced environmental changes occurring on continental margins with effects hypothesized to occur on microstructural, biomechanical, and geochemical properties of carbonate structures. Natural gradients in temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH on an upwelling margin combined with the broad depth distribution (100–1,100 m) of the pink fragile sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus (formerly Allocentrotus) fragilis, along the southern California shelf and slope provide an ideal system to evaluate potential effects of multiple climate variables on carbonate structures in situ. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Stephanie Dutkiewicz et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08457-x

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Ocean deoxygenation and zooplankton: Very small oxygen differences matter

Abstract.

"Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), large midwater regions of very low oxygen, are expected to expand as a result of climate change. While oxygen is known to be important in structuring midwater ecosystems, a precise and mechanistic understanding of the effects of oxygen on zooplankton is lacking. Zooplankton are important components of midwater food webs and biogeochemical cycles. Here, we show that, in the eastern tropical North Pacific OMZ, previously undescribed submesoscale oxygen variability has a direct effect on the distribution of many major zooplankton groups. Despite extraordinary hypoxia tolerance, many zooplankton live near their physiological limits and respond to slight (≤1%) changes in oxygen. [...]"

Source: Science Advances
Authors: K. F. Wishner et al.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau5180

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URI researchers: Small changes in oxygen levels have big implications for ocean life

Oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island have found that even slight levels of ocean oxygen loss, or deoxygenation, have big consequences for tiny marine organisms called zooplankton.

Zooplankton are important components of the food web in the expanse of deep, open ocean called the midwater. Within this slice of ocean below the surface and above the seafloor are oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), large regions of very low oxygen. Unlike coastal “dead zones” where oxygen levels can suddenly plummet and kill marine life not acclimated to the conditions, zooplankton in OMZs are specially adapted to live where other organisms – especially predators – cannot.

Source: Whats up newp

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Particulate matter flux interception in oceanic mesoscale eddies by the polychaete Poeobius sp.

Abstract.

"Gelatinous zooplankton hold key functions in the ocean and have been shown to significantly influence the transport of organic carbon to the deep sea. We discovered a gelatinous, flux‐feeding polychaete of the genus Poeobius in very high abundances in a mesoscale eddy in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, where it co‐occurred with extremely low particle concentrations. Subsequent analysis of an extensive in situ imaging dataset revealed that Poeobius sp. occurred sporadically between 5°S–20°N and 16°W–46°W in the upper 1000 m. [...]"

Source: Limnology and Oceanography
Authors: Svenja Christiansen et al.
DOI: 10.1002/lno.10926

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Annual plankton community metabolism in estuarine and coastal waters in Perth (Western Australia)

Abstract.

"The planktonic metabolic balance that is the balance between gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration (CR) was determined in Matilda Bay (estuarine) and Woodman Point (coastal) in Perth, Western Australia. The rates of net community production (NCP = GPP – CR) and the ratio between GPP and CR (P/R) were assessed to evaluate whether the metabolic balance in the two coastal locations tends to be net autotrophic (production exceeding community respiration) or net heterotrophic (respiration exceeding production).  [...]"

Source: PeerJ
Authors: Susana Agusti, Lorena Vigoya, Carlos Manuel Duarte
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5081

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Distribution of planktonic biogenic carbonate organisms in the Southern Ocean south of Australia: a baseline for ocean acidification impact assessment

Abstract.

"The Southern Ocean provides a vital service by absorbing about one-sixth of humankind's annual emissions of CO2. This comes with a cost – an increase in ocean acidity that is expected to have negative impacts on ocean ecosystems. The reduced ability of phytoplankton and zooplankton to precipitate carbonate shells is a clearly identified risk. The impact depends on the significance of these organisms in Southern Ocean ecosystems, but there is very little information on their abundance or distribution."

Source: Biogeosciences
Authors: Thomas W. Trull et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-31-2018

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