Studying phytoplankton on a large scale

August 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

The Wired Science blog has some amazing pictures of marine algae blooms viewed from space. They remind one vaguely of the Mandelbrot set; take a look at this one, for example. Now, you may complain about how difficult it is to get the right images of how your fluorescent protein behaves, but at least microscopic imaging isn’t rocket science.  Here’s a description of the instruments taking the pictures, in case you’re curious.

Why did this catch my attention?  Well, of course we’re interested in carbon fixation for at least a couple of reasons.  But also the claim that the global concentration of phytoplankton has declined by 40% since 1950 has definitely raised my phytoplankton awareness quotient.  Not that I’m worried or anything.

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§ One Response to Studying phytoplankton on a large scale

  • Dave Savage says:

    Cyanobacteria are very sensitive to relatively acidic pH and are some of the few microbes that actually flourish under basic conditions. For instance, Synechococcus grows well at pH 11! I wonder how much the drop in global phytoplankton concentration can be explained by recent ocean acidification and, more importantly, what the future projections are in an even more acidic environment.

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