Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WATER WORLD
The oceans are full of barriers for small organisms
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Aug 04, 2016


Small differences in salinity and temperature lead to the formation of weak and ephemeral fronts with different phytoplankton communities on each side. Researchers found that several species of the genus Chaetoceros (shown on photo) constituted the majority of the biomass on one side of the front but were virtually absent on the other side. Image courtesy Niels Daugbjerg. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Subtle and short-lived differences in ocean salinity or temperature function as physical barriers for phytoplankton, and result in a patchy distribution of the oceans' most important food resource. The new research from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen may help explain the large biodiversity in the sea.

Phytoplankton are microscopic algae that live free-floating in the sea, transported around by ocean currents. The composition of phytoplankton communities affect other microscopic organisms, fish and even whales, as they constitute the base of the food web in the sea.

"The oceans are full of invisible barriers that occur when temperature or salinity changes. Our new research shows that even short-lived barriers of just a couple of days or weeks, are enough to influence phytoplankton communities.

This provides us with new insight into how the high biodiversity of phytoplankton is maintained and how the food web might be affected", says lead author and Postdoc Erik Mousing from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at University of Copenhagen.

In recent decades, researchers have increasingly understood how small organisms are separated by relatively permanent fronts in the sea caused, for example, by large ocean currents. However, this is the first time researchers demonstrate that short-lived changes in salinity or temperature also lead to changes in the composition of algae communities.

While it is known that physical barriers on land, such as rivers and mountains, can lead to the development of new plant and animal species over time, the oceans have primarily been perceived as a homogeneous environment. Therefore, it has been difficult to explain the large biodiversity of small algae.

"Our results show that the distribution of phytoplankton is much patchier than previously assumed as a result of these commonly occurring weak fronts. Coupled with the short generation time of phytoplankton the local barriers caused by these fronts could help explain why phytoplankton diversity is so large.

"Thus, at least in terms of the overall mechanisms controlling biodiversity, the terrestrial and marine systems are not fundamentally different", says co-author and Professor Katherine Richardson, from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Ecology, the researchers analyzed 30 samples of phytoplankton from 16 locations in the North Atlantic. They also measured temperature and salinity in different water depths.

Based on the samples, the researchers were able to map out a front with different salinities on each side. The species composition of phytoplankton was significantly different on either side of the front.

"Although our results are based on samples in the North Atlantic, weak and short-lived fronts occur in oceans all over the world. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the influence of these small scale fronts on phytoplankton is a common feature in the world's oceans", concludes Erik Mousing.

The study has been conducted in cooperation with the Danish ClimateLab, NASA and the University of Maine.


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
Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
WATER WORLD
Abundant and diverse ecosystem found in area targeted for deep-sea mining
Honolulu HI (SPX) Aug 02, 2016
In a study published in Scientific Reports, scientists discovered impressive abundance and diversity among the creatures living on the seafloor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) - an area in the equatorial Pacific Ocean being targeted for deep-sea mining. The study, lead authored by Diva Amon, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Sci ... read more


WATER WORLD
Study shows heat dangers of inflatable bounce houses

Search for 20 feared dead after India bridge collapse

False megaquake alert shakes Tokyo

Study highlights electric grids' vulnerabilities to extreme weather

WATER WORLD
Lattice structure absorbs vibrations

Study looks at future of 2D materials

Self-organizing smart materials that mimic swarm behavior

Flexible building blocks of the future

WATER WORLD
CO2 rise makes night fall

The oceans are full of barriers for small organisms

China sinkhole swallows passers-by: report

Abundant and diverse ecosystem found in area targeted for deep-sea mining

WATER WORLD
Antarctic sea ice may be a source of mercury in southern ocean fish and birds

Lack of water likely caused extinction of isolated Alaska mammoths

St. Paul Island mammoths most accurately dated 'prehistoric' extinction ever

Alaskan woolly mammoths died of thirst: study

WATER WORLD
Reinventing French fizz in face of climate change

Rice crops that can save farmers money and cut pollution

Brazilian restaurants turn waste back into food

Ancient rice DNA data provides new view of domestication history

WATER WORLD
Volcanic eruptions in Indonesia hit air travel

Flooding, mudslide warning as hurricane aims for Belize

Airport chaos after typhoon Nida hits Hong Kong

Southern China braces for Typhoon Nida

WATER WORLD
US, Senegal troops wind up first-ever emergency exercise

Libya unity government demands explanation over French troops

Five missing soldiers found in Nigeria: army

Tide turns against Liberia's biggest slum

WATER WORLD
Tracking down the first chefs

Population boom preceded early farming

The great evolutionary smoke out: An advantage for modern humans

Volunteers chew bones to help identify marks of earliest human chefs




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