Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Warming temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may be behind a progressively earlier bloom of a crucial annual marine event, and the shift could hold consequences for the entire food chain and carbon cycling in the region.

Significant trends toward earlier phytoplankton blooms (blue) were detected in about 11 percent of the area of the Arctic Ocean closest to the North Pole, delayed blooms (red) were evident to the south.
Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Phytoplankton peak arising up to 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling

Warming temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may be behind a progressively earlier bloom of a crucial annual marine event, and the shift could hold consequences for the entire food chain and carbon cycling in the region.

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, along with colleagues in Portugal and Mexico, plotted the yearly spring bloom of phytoplankton -- tiny plants at the base of the ocean food chain -- in the Arctic Ocean and found the peak timing of the event has been progressing earlier each year for more than a decade. The researchers analyzed satellite data depicting ocean color and phytoplankton production to determine that the spring bloom has come up to 50 days earlier in some areas in that time span.

The earlier Arctic blooms have roughly occurred in areas where ice concentrations have dwindled and created gaps that make early blooms possible, say the researchers, who publish their findings in the March 9 edition of the journal Global Change Biology.

During the one- to two-week spring bloom, which occurs in warm as well as cold regions, a major influx of new organic carbon enters the marine ecosystem through a massive peak in phytoplankton photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide into organic matter as part of the global carbon cycle. Phytoplankton blooms stimulate production of zooplankton, microscopic marine animals, which become a food source for fish.

Mati Kahru, lead author of the study and a research oceanographer in the Integrative Oceanography Division at Scripps, said it's not clear if the consumers of phytoplankton are able to match the earlier blooms and avoid disruptions of their critical life-cycle stages such as egg hatching and larvae development.

"The spring bloom provides a major source of food for zooplankton, fish and bottom-dwelling animals," he said. "The advancement of the bloom time may have consequences for the Arctic ecosystem."

Such a match or mismatch in timing could explain much of the annual variability of fish stocks in the region.

"The trend towards earlier phytoplankton blooms can expand into other areas of the Arctic Ocean and impact the whole food chain," say the authors, who used satellite data from 1997-2010 to create their bloom maps.

The NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program and the National Science Foundation provided financial support for the research. The satellite data were provided by the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group, ESA GlobColour group, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Kahru's coauthors include Greg Mitchell, a Scripps Oceanography research biologist, Vanda Brotas of the University of Lisbon in Portugal and Marlenne Manzano-Sarabia of Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa in Mexico.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Kahru, V. Brotas, M. Manzano-Sarabia, B. G. Mitchell. Are phytoplankton blooms occurring earlier in the Arctic? Global Change Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02312.x

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171320.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2011, March 3). Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171320.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171320.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) — An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins