Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean nutrients a key component of future change, say scientists

Date:
April 10, 2013
Source:
National Oceanography Centre
Summary:
Variations in nutrient availability in the world’s oceans could be a vital component of future environmental change, according to a new review paper.

Oceanographic sampling equipment is shown being lowered into clear blue open ocean water. The clarity of the water is a consequence of low nutrient availability restricting the amount of planktonic microbes. Credit: Elizabeth Sargent, NOCS
Credit: Elizabeth Sargent, NOCS

Variations in nutrient availability in the world's oceans could be a vital component of future environmental change, according to a multi-author review paper involving the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

The paper, published this month in Nature Geoscience, reviews what we know about ocean nutrient patterns and interactions, and how they might be influenced by future climate change and other human-made factors. The authors also highlight how nutrient cycles influence climate by fuelling biological production, hence keeping carbon dioxide (CO2) locked down in the ocean away from the atmosphere.

Dr Mark Moore from University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at NOCS, led the review. He said: "We aimed to get a group of international experts together in an attempt to define the current state of knowledge in this rapidly developing field."

Marine algae, which support most marine ecosystems, need certain resources to grow and reproduce -- including nutrients. If there are not enough nutrients available, the growth or abundance of these microscopic plants can become restricted. This is known as 'nutrient limitation'.

"All organisms, from the smallest microbes, up to complex multi-cellular animals like us, require a variety of chemical elements to survive," explained Dr Moore. "Somehow we all have to get these elements from our external environment."

Nutrients are therefore a key driver of microbial activity in the oceans. But at the same time, microorganisms play a major role in cycling nutrients and carbon throughout the vast ocean system -- including drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere. Therefore understanding ocean nutrient cycling is important for predicting future environmental change.

Dr Moore said: "Despite many decades of research, we still don't understand some of the complex interactions between marine microorganisms and nutrient cycles.

"Human activity has the potential to profoundly impact oceanic nutrient cycles. A solid understanding of complex feedbacks in the system will be required if we are going to be able to predict the consequences of these changes."

The authors -- from 22 different institutes -- call for an interdisciplinary approach merging new analytical techniques, observations and models going forward to address current gaps in our understanding.

The review resulted from a workshop, hosted at NOCS, as part of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme/Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (IGBP-SCOR) funded Fast Track Initiative on Upper Ocean Nutrient Limitation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanography Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Moore, M. M. Mills, K. R. Arrigo, I. Berman-Frank, L. Bopp, P. W. Boyd, E. D. Galbraith, R. J. Geider, C. Guieu, S. L. Jaccard, T. D. Jickells, J. La Roche, T. M. Lenton, N. M. Mahowald, E. Maraρσn, I. Marinov, J. K. Moore, T. Nakatsuka, A. Oschlies, M. A. Saito, T. F. Thingstad, A. Tsuda, O. Ulloa. Processes and patterns of oceanic nutrient limitation. Nature Geoscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1765

Cite This Page:

National Oceanography Centre. "Ocean nutrients a key component of future change, say scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082210.htm>.
National Oceanography Centre. (2013, April 10). Ocean nutrients a key component of future change, say scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082210.htm
National Oceanography Centre. "Ocean nutrients a key component of future change, say scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082210.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) — Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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