Navigation Links
First global atlas of marine plankton reveals remarkable underwater world
Date:7/19/2013

Under the microscope, they look like they could be from another planet, but these microscopic organisms inhabit the depths of our oceans in nearly infinite numbers.

To begin to identify where, when, and how much oceanic plankton can be found around the globe, a group of international researchers have compiled the first ever global atlas cataloguing marine plankton ranging in size from bacteria to jellyfish. The atlas was published today in a special issue of the journal Earth System Science Data.

The atlas, known as the Marine Ecosystem Biomass Data (MAREDAT), is the first step towards a comprehensive inventory of the marine biota based on counts of individual cells or organisms. It will help researchers better understand marine biodiversity for conservation and monitoring and is the result of collaborations between scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the University of East Anglia, ETH Zurich, University of Manchester, Universit d'Angers and CNRS, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), together with many other scientific institutions around the world.

"One of the more surprising findings from the study is that phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass are roughly the same size in the upper ocean. Compare that to more familiar land ecosystems where the biomass of plants greatly exceeds that of animals and it's pretty illuminating," says WHOI Senior Scientist and Marine Chemist Scott Doney, a collaborator on the project.

The MAREDAT database is open-source and available through a public website.

Thus far, it has catalogued about half a million measurements of plankton biomass, which are subdivided into 12 broad plankton groups. Each group has a separate database.

"The data and documentation can be downloaded by any researcher so that they can explore their own scientific questions," Doney says. "Over time we hope to grow the database by adding other historical and newly collected data for plankton groups already in the database as well as extend into different plankton groups."

One group of microorganisms Doney and his colleague Yawei Luo have focused on cataloguing in MAREDAT is marine nitrogen-fixing bacteria called "diazotrophs." These unique microbes can literally make the nutrients they need for growth out of thin air, or at least from dissolved nitrogen gas. They play an essential role in subtropical ocean gyres providing a source of nitrogen in the otherwise nutrient-poor surface waters. The nitrogen fixation rates and diazotroph cell counts are being used to study the environmental conditions that determine nitrogen fixation and diazotroph community structure.

Working with more than 45 other scientists from WHOI and around the world, Luo and Doney built the first-ever global dataset on nitrogen-fixers by collecting data from historical scientific literature and existing databases. The past decade has seen a virtual explosion in new ocean field data on marine nitrogen-fixers spanning a wide range of taxonomic groups including free-living cells and filamentous organisms as well as symbiotic organisms that live inside other plankton. Luo and Doney study ocean microbes as part of the Center for Microbial Oceanography, Research, and Education (C-MORE), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center based at the University of Hawaii.

The first edition of the MAREDAT global plankton atlas took three years to compile and combines information from half a million data points. The data will have a wide-range of application across ocean and climate science including helping scientists create computer models to predict the impact of climate change and ocean acidification.

The authors hope that the MAREDAT atlas will be a starting point to expand from and will help serve under-sampled regions, such as the South Pacific and parts of the Southern Ocean. The MAREDAT global atlas is published as a special edition of the journal Earth System Science Data.


'/>"/>

Contact: Press Office
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Kessler Foundation implements Ekso Bionics first commercial robotic exoskeleton
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. First model of how buds grow into leaves
4. American College of Rheumatology releases first classification criteria for polymyalagia rheumatica
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
7. FirstMark Announces New Hire Jay Houtman as Southeast Regional Sales Manager
8. FirstMark Exhibiting at the Inaugural Atlanta Clinical Cardiology Update
9. New technology tracks sparrow migration for first time from California to Alaska
10. First mass extinction linked to marine anoxia
11. Scientists complete first-ever emperor penguin count from space
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... Australia , March 2, 2017 Australian ... Ltd (ASX: CYP), has signed an agreement with ... from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of ... to conduct a further preclinical study to support the ... treatment of asthma.  Asthma is a ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the ... led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the ... Ventures is DC based and is led by cybersecurity ... . Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity ... in this series A round of funding. This new ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... -- Der weltweite Biobanking-Sektor wird bis zum ... mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus verschiedenen Branchen wurde aber ... diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... Zu den Schwierigkeiten für ... für die Biobank, die Implementierung Zeit sparender Technologien, ein ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to announce it has become the ... corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as Illumina, HP and Qualcomm, and ... reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new team building format, a way ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MILFORD, Mass. , March 23, 2017 ... leading partner to global in vitro diagnostics ... launch of the industry,s first multiplexed ... inherited disease testing by next-generation sequencing ... materials were developed with input from industry ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Ellen ... the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® finalist. Matloff ... of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in science, technology, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 According to a ... and derivatives market is fragmented due to the presence of a large ... Proliant, Thermo Fisher , and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with each other ... companies, collectively, held more than 76% of this market in 2016.  ... As of now, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: