Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Lidar helps scientists study plankton cycles
by Brooks Hays
Corvallis, Ore. (UPI) Dec 19, 2016

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Improved lidar technologies are helping scientists better understand the drivers of plankton boom-bust cycles. New analysis suggest the push and pull between plankton and predators is stronger than previously thought.

"It's really important for us to understand what controls these boom-bust cycles and how they might change in the future, because the dynamics of plankton communities have implications for all the other organisms throughout the web," researcher Michael Behrenfeld, an expert in marine plankton at Oregon State University, said in a news release.

The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization, or CALIOP, a satellite-mounted lidar instrument, has been monitoring phytoplankton blooms for the last decade. Ten years of data suggest phytoplankton blooms occur when growth accelerates faster than plankton-loving predators can eat. Once plankton proliferation slows, the bloom ends as predators quickly consume the entirety of the population.

Behrenfeld likens it to two rubber balls, green and red, connected by a rubber band.

"Take the green ball -- which represents the phytoplankton--and whack it with a paddle. As long as that green ball accelerates, the rubber band will stretch, and the red ball -- which represents all the things that eat or kill the phytoplankton -- won't catch up with the green ball," Behrenfeld explained. "But as soon as the green ball stops accelerating, the tension in the rubber band will pull that red ball up to it, and the red ball catches up."

The findings -- detailed in the journal Nature Geoscience -- contradict the previous understanding of plankton blooms.

Until now, scientists thought blooms begin when growth rates pass a threshold and end when they suddenly crash. The new data shows blooms begin when growth rates are still very slow but accelerating. When acceleration peaks, predators catch up and the bloom ends.

"The take-home message, is that, if we want to understand the production of the polar systems as a whole, we have to focus both on changes in ice cover and changes in the ecosystems that regulate this delicate balance between predators and prey," Behrenfeld concluded.

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
The galloping evolution in seahorses
Konstanz, Germany (SPX) Dec 16, 2016
Without a doubt, the seahorse belongs to Darwin's "endless forms most beautiful". Its body form is one of a kind. It has neither a tail nor pelvic fin, it swims vertically, bony plates reinforce its entire body and it has no teeth, a rare feature in fish. Another peculiarity is that male seahorses are the ones to become pregnant. The genome project, comprising six evolutionary biologists f ... read more

New Technology Could Help Track Firefighters for Safety

China charges 10 in power plant collapse killed 74

Sawdust reinvented into super sponge for oil spills

China arrests 18 over fatal October blast

Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials

The hidden side of sulfur

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster

High Resolution Imaging of Hypervelocity Impacts

The galloping evolution in seahorses

Ocean temperatures faithfully recorded in mother-of-pearl

Former city managers face criminal charges in Flint water crisis

A small change with a large impact

Scientists measure pulse of CO2 emissions during spring thaw in the Arctic

Satellites observe 'traffic jams' in Antarctic Ice Stream caused by tides

Landsat provides global view of speed of ice

Global warming is melting mountain glaciers: study

In Benin, 'Smart-Valleys' bring rice bounty

Many GMO studies have financial conflicts of interest

Corn yield modeling towards sustainable agriculture

S. Korea issues top bird flu alert

Naples astride a rumbling mega-volcano

Seafloor maps provide new data on 2015 eruption at Axial Seamount

Ecuador quake, aftershocks leave two dead, serious damage

Floods kill 24 in Vietnam, more rains expected

UN cancels controversial Gambia army chief's Darfur visit

Influx of Chinese investors angers Madagascans

Mobile money lifts Kenyan households out of poverty

Mali rivals must stick to peace deal: French minister

Dental hygiene, caveman style

Neurons paralyze us during REM sleep

Neanderthals visited seaside cave in England for 180,000 years

Sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists can be determined forensic analysis

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement