EARTH’S OCEANS ARE BEGINNING TO WARM AND GROW ACIDIC,
Endangering plankton and the entire marine food chain
- The roiling drama of the planktonic world is a theatre of ambush predators, hermaphrodites and mucus-hurling cannibals.
- The turnover time of the ocean is about 1,000 years, but most of the anthropogenic CO2 is accumulating in the upper ocean within 100 years. The ocean can’t mix it fast enough into the deep sea.
- The loss in productivity in the surface waters will reduce the animals on the ocean’s bottom by a mass equivalent to the entire human population.
Read the February 18, 2014 article by Peter Brannen, Plankton: the tiny sentinels of the deep …
Wikipedia on plankton:
Plankton are a diverse group of organismsthat live in the water column and cannot swim against a current. They include drifting animals, protists, archaea, algae, or bacteria that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. Plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification.
- Phytoplankton: autotrophic [primary producers] algae that live near the water surface where light supports photosynthesis.
- Zooplankton: small protozoans or metazoans (e.g. crustaceans and other animals) that feed on other plankton …, including some of the eggs and larvae of larger animals (fish, crustaceans, and annelids).
- Bacterioplankton: bacteria and archaea, which play an important role in remineralising organic material ….
IMAGES Charismatic microfauna; Limacina helicina, a small, swimming, predatory sea snail. Photo by Alexander Semenov (via Aeon)
 Credit: Pravettoni, R. UNEP/GRID-Arendal. Data Source: IPCC 2007. Retrieved from http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/global-ocean-acidification
 Credit: United States Joint Global Ocean Flux Study.
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