By night they glimmer, lighting up the surf of the Arabian Sea a phosphorescent blue. By day they appear as a thick, slimy, malodorous green blanket over the ocean. Nicknamed “sea sparkle” for their nocturnal appearance, these unusual plankton-like species are silently taking over the base of the regional food chain and threatening fisheries that sustain 150 million people. They are Noctiluca scintillans, a dinoflagellate that were all but unheard of in the Arabian Sea 20 years ago, but they are now demonstrating a unique capacity to survive, thrive, and force out diatoms, the planktonic species that traditionally support the Arabian Sea food web. Typically, diatoms are gobbled up by small sea animals, or zooplankton, which are in turn eaten by larger fish and sea creatures. Noctiluca has short-circuited this system.
|Name||Title||Fields of interest|
|Hugh Ducklow||Professor||Ecosystems ecology, marine and global biogeochemistry, microbial ecology|
December 04, 2017
October 31, 2017
The warmer, more acidic waters caused by climate change will affect the health of tiny marine organisms essential to the marine food web and important to the marine carbon cycle.
October 12, 2015
Tiny microbes called phytoplankton are churning away in the oceans, taking in carbon dioxide and producing the oxygen we breathe. Scientists recognize their value, but many questions remain about what will happen to their productivity as the oceans warm, carbon dioxide levels rise, and the nutrients they rely on become scarce. A new study explores those questions using a mix of techniques from genomics and oceanography and a newly created database of millions of phytoplankton RNA strands contributed by scientists from labs around the world.
May 14, 2015
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for every living organism, well known for its role in fueling everything from the human body to farm fields. But up to now, surprisingly little has been known about how the element cycles through the oceans. A new study has broken through some of this mystery, by showing the hidden role that the oceans’ tiniest creatures play. The study appears this week in the leading journal Science.