Ocean plankton sponge up nearly twice the carbon currently assumed

page: 1
3

log in

join

posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 05:04 PM
link   
Models of carbon dioxide in the world's oceans need to be revised, accordingto new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previouslycalculated. Carbon dioxide is the leading driver of disruptive climate change.
In making their findings, the researchers have upended a decades-old core principle ofmarine science known as the Redfield ratio, named for famed oceanographer Alfred Redfield. He concluded in 1934 that from the top of the world's oceans to their cool, dark depths, both plankton and the materials they excrete contain the same ratio (106:16:1) of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous. But as any gardener who has done a soil test knows, amounts of those elements can vary widely. The new study's authors found dramatically different ratios at a variety of marine locations. What matters more than depth, they concluded, is latitude. In particular, the researchers detected far higher levels of carbon in warm, nutrient-starved areas (195:28:1) near the equator than in cold, nutrient-rich polar zones (78:13:1). "The Redfield concept remains a central tenetin ocean biology and chemistry. However, we clearly show that the nutrient content ratio inplankton is not constant and thus reject this longstanding central theory for ocean science," said lead author Adam Martiny, associate professor of Earth system science and ecology & evolutionary biology at UC Irvine. "Instead, we show that plankton follow a strong latitudinal pattern." Source - www.sciencecodex.com...




posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 05:35 PM
link   
reply to post by Trackhunter
 


Understanding the role plankton play as a carbon sink is vital to our understanding of the climatic changes that are happening today. They are the lungs of the earth.





 
3

log in

join