HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA study solves ocean plant mystery

A NASA-sponsored study shows that by using a new technique, scientists can determine what limits the growth of ocean algae, or phytoplankton, and how this affects Earth's climate.

Phytoplankton is a microscopic ocean plant and an important part of the ocean food chain. By knowing what limits its growth scientists can better understand how ecosystems respond to climate change.

The study focused on phytoplankton in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is an area of the ocean that plays a particularly important role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide and the world's climate. This area of the ocean is the largest natural source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

"We concluded that nitrogen is the primary element missing for algae growth and photosynthesis in the northern portion of the tropical Pacific, while it was iron that was most lacking everywhere else," said Michael J. Behrenfeld, an ocean plant ecologist from Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.

Scientists determined when phytoplankton is stressed from lack of iron; it appears greener, or healthier than they really are. Normally, greener plants are growing faster than less green plants. When iron is lacking, enhanced greenness does not mean phytoplankton are growing better. They are actually under stress and unhealthy. These conclusions solved the mystery why healthy looking phytoplankton are actually not so healthy.

"Because we didn't know about this effect of iron stress on the greenness of algae or phytoplankton before, we have always assumed that equally green waters were equally productive," Behrenfeld said. "We now know this is not the case, and that we have to treat areas lacking iron differently."

For the tropical Pacific, correction for this "iron-effect" decreases scientists' estimates of how much carbon ocean plants photosynthesize for the region by roughly two billion tons. This figure represents a tremendous amount of carbon that r
'"/>

Contact: Rob Gutro
rgutro@pop900.gsfc.nasa.gov
301-286-4044
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
31-Aug-2006


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
2. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
3. Pollution causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide, study finds
4. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
5. New study suggests Concord grape juice may provide protection against breast cancer
6. Preclinical study links gene to brain aneurysm formation
7. In limiting life span, study finds booming bacteria innocent
8. Multicenter study nets new lung tumor-suppressor gene
9. MIT study: Maturity brings richer memories
10. Chickadee, nutchatch presence in conifers increases tree growth, says CU-Boulder study
11. Phase II study of therapeutic vaccine shows efficacy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016  Today, the first day of American ... to develop a first of its kind workplace health ... Watson. In the first application of Watson ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new offering ... cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... BLUE BELL, Pa. , Jan. 25, 2016   Unisys ... facial recognition system at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, ... and Border Protection (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter ... or do not belong to them. pilot testing ... rolled out initially at three terminals at JFK during January 2016. ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... , January 21, 2016 ... to a new market research report "Emotion Detection and ... Others), Software Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and ... - Global forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 22.65 Billion by 2020, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016  Discovery Laboratories, ... focused on developing aerosolized KL4 surfactant therapies for ... Directors has approved an inducement award as a ... , its newly appointed President and Chief Executive ... Compensation Committee on February 1, 2016 and granted ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016 New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) has ... for researchers in New Jersey ... demonstrates exciting potential.   James M. ... New Jersey Health Foundation Research Grant Program ... institutions— Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rowan University and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Resilinc released online ... analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain notifications and alerts generated by its ... chain risk management practitioners subscribe to the EventWatch service to receive early warnings ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Data Sciences ... solutions focused on social housing of small animal models in research studies. ... ² , DSI’s HD-S11 implant has evolved to allow researchers to simultaneously measure ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: