Phytoplankton News

Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in watery environments, both salty and fresh. They are the aquatic equivalent of terrestrial plants, capable of photosynthesis—they convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. As such, they are a crucial component of the oceanic food chain and a primary producer, serving as the foundation for most marine food webs. Phytoplankton are also vital to global carbon cycling and are influential in controlling the Earth’s climate. Changes in their population size and composition can have significant effects on climate, given their role in carbon dioxide absorption. They are sensitive indicators of environmental changes, including water temperature, salinity levels, and pollution, making them essential subjects for environmental and climatological studies. Blooms of phytoplankton, while natural, can sometimes lead to detrimental ecological effects, such as hypoxia (low oxygen levels) or the production of harmful toxins that can impact marine and human life.