Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles, research shows

Date:
September 8, 2013
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
New research shows that rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus. Plankton plays an important role in the ocean's carbon cycle by removing half of all CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and storing it deep under the sea. New findings reveal that water temperature has a direct impact on maintaining the delicate plankton ecosystem of our oceans.

Rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus. Plankton plays an important role in the ocean's carbon cycle by removing half of all CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and storing it deep under the sea -- isolated from the atmosphere for centuries.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

New research from the University of East Anglia shows that rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Plankton plays an important role in the ocean's carbon cycle by removing half of all CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and storing it deep under the sea -- isolated from the atmosphere for centuries.

Findings published today in the journal Nature Climate Change reveal that water temperature has a direct impact on maintaining the delicate plankton ecosystem of our oceans.

The new research means that ocean warming will impact plankton, and in turn drive a vicious cycle of climate change.

Researchers from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences and the School of Computing Sciences investigated phytoplankton -- microscopic plant-like organisms that rely on photosynthesis to reproduce and grow.

Lead researcher Dr Thomas Mock, said: "Phytoplankton, including micro-algae, are responsible for half of the carbon dioxide that is naturally removed from the atmosphere. As well as being vital to climate control, it also creates enough oxygen for every other breath we take, and forms the base of the food chain for fisheries so it is incredibly important for food security.

"Previous studies have shown that phytoplankton communities respond to global warming by changes in diversity and productivity. But with our study we show that warmer temperatures directly impact the chemical cycles in plankton, which has not been shown before."

Collaborators from the University of Exeter, who are co-authors of this study, developed computer generated models to create a global ecosystem model that took into account world ocean temperatures, 1.5 million plankton DNA sequences taken from samples, and biochemical data.

"We found that temperature plays a critical role in driving the cycling of chemicals in marine micro-algae. It affects these reactions as much as nutrients and light, which was not known before," said Dr Mock.

"Under warmer temperatures, marine micro-algae do not seem to produce as many ribosomes as under lower temperatures. Ribosomes join up the building blocks of proteins in cells. They are rich in phosphorus and if they are being reduced, this will produce higher ratios of nitrogen compared to phosphorus, increasing the demand for nitrogen in the oceans.

"This will eventually lead to a greater prevalence of blue-green algae called cyanobacteria which fix atmospheric nitrogen," he added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Toseland, S. J. Daines, J. R. Clark, A. Kirkham, J. Strauss, C. Uhlig, T. M. Lenton, K. Valentin, G. A. Pearson, V. Moulton, T. Mock. The impact of temperature on marine phytoplankton resource allocation and metabolism. Nature Climate Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1989

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles, research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130908135752.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2013, September 8). Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130908135752.htm
University of East Anglia. "Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles, research shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130908135752.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