This article explains that the World’s oceans are going to change color as a result of climate change. Researchers point out that the base of the food chain in the oceans is phytoplankton. With an increase in water temperature, the phytoplankton will die, resulting in an ocean that is not as green (as phytoplankton have green pigment from the chloroplasts). This article also explained that by using the color of the ocean one can deduce the population of phytoplankton, therefore getting more data on how global warming is affecting the world.
We have been learning in class the different properties of microorganisms. Right now we are learning how the metabolism works. By understanding this concept, I can use my knowledge to fully understand how an increase in temperature would affect the microorganism’s ability to acquire food and survive. Furthermore, we have been learning in class how different microorganisms can change the environment that they are in.
I found this story interesting because I liked the concept that you could tell the population of an organism, like phytoplankton, by looking at the color of the water. Although, I can see many variables in trying to actually test this idea. There are many things that can change the color of something, especially in the ocean, so I don’t see how they could do this. I think that this article did a fine job of relaying information to the general public so they could understand topics that they might not have any experience dealing with it. On the other hand, that means that this article most likely left out many concepts that the general public wouldn’t understand, but I would find interesting.
What is the main reason why an increase in temperature of a few degrees would kill phytoplankton?
2 Comments for “A2: Microbes in the News- Phytoplankton”
I also enjoyed reading this article and find it an interesting topic. I agree that the concept they have to measure the population in the environment is very interesting and seems like it would provide a rapid way to do so. I also feel that are too many factors to be able to link the change of color to loss of phytoplankton or at least they did not convince me that this method would work. After reading an article it showed that while yes the population dropped initially after 45 days they evolved increased growth rates. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/phytoplankton-climate-kachur-1.3349107
I enjoyed reading the article you shared and agree that it was suited to the general public rather than the scientific community, as the author did not delve much into the research behind the study. I found your comment on controlling for variables to be compelling, however, I think that the change in color is only one indicator change in phytoplankton levels. The researches probably have alternative methods for measuring phytoplankton levels that are more accurate and informative in regard to climate change and its effects. In response to your question, I think that it is important to consider that microbes thrive in specific conditions. Although a change of 3 degrees doesn’t sound very extreme to us, this difference might disrupt cellular structures that in turn affect the organism. Furthermore, the increasing temperatures might affect available resources, and thus, lead to a reduction in phytoplankton. I found an article that suggested phytoplankton levels are decreasing because the solubility of various molecules, including oxygen, are altered in response to climate change (Watts, 2017). I have included a link to this article below.
Watts, S. (2017, December 29). Global Warming Is Putting the Ocean’s Phytoplankton in Danger. Retrieved February 9, 2019, from https://psmag.com/environment/global-warming-is-putting-phytoplankton-in-danger