Navigation Links
Ocean stirring and plankton patchiness
Date:6/21/2010

Computer simulations performed by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Glasgow show how oceanic stirring and mixing influence the formation and dynamics of plankton patches in the upper ocean.

Tiny free-floating marine plants called phytoplankton live in vast numbers in the sunlit upper ocean. Through the process of photosynthesis, they build carbon compounds such as sugars starting with just water and carbon dioxide, which is thereby drawn down from the atmosphere.

Phytoplankton also need nutrients such as phosphate and iron, shortage of which can limit their population growth. They are also preyed upon by tiny planktonic animals called zooplankton.

"Interactions between phytoplankton, nutrients, zooplankton and the physical environment lead to complex dynamics, which we seek to understand using computer models," explained Emma Guirey, whose work on the problem was done as part of her PhD studies. "These complex dynamics can produce the patchiness of phytoplankton at the ocean surface that is invariably seen in satellite images and observed at sea during research cruises."

Guirey and her colleagues applied the methods of synchronisation theory previously used to explain such phenomena as the co-ordinated flashing of fireflies along whole riverbanks. Initially they studied the balance between localised increases in phytoplankton populations and small-scale mixing, such as that due to breaking waves, in creating patches. Patchiness was found to persist despite the mixing which might be expected to smooth out the patches by blending them together.

The initial studies neglected the effects of stirring, or 'advection' by large scale ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio, but this is included in the most recent computer simulations. This stirring stretches the patches out into long filaments. However, the patches still resist dispersal.

"What is exciting is that the inclusion of large-scale advection, far from disrupting plankton patchiness, actually creates the kind of filamentary structure that we often observe in real-life plankton populations. Application of synchronisation theory has given us a new perspective on the production of this complex patchiness," said Guirey.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Rory Howlett
r.howlett@noc.soton.ac.uk
44-080-598-490
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. TAU scientists probe deep questions aboard EcoOceans environmental research ship
2. NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of worlds oceans
3. CO2 emissions could violate EPA ocean-quality standards within decades
4. NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of worlds oceans
5. Scientists, policymakers and industry leaders gather to discuss ocean iron fertilization
6. Acid oceans warning
7. Scientists gather in New Zealand to share oceans secrets
8. Unprecedented global measurement network achieves full coverage of oceans
9. Abel to receive posthumous Ocean and Coastal Leadership award
10. Human safety, prosperity depend on better ocean observing system: Scientists
11. Marine scientists warn human safety, prosperity depend on better ocean observing system
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Ocean stirring and plankton patchiness
(Date:4/14/2016)... 14, 2016 BioCatch ™, ... today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time ... the deployment of its platform at several of the ... which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... ABI Research, the leader in transformative ... market will reach more than $30 billion by ... Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost the ... reach two billion shipments by 2021 at a ... Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® ... Farming in 2017 and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are ... industry. , “We’ve witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry will testify ... before the United States House Committee on Science, Space and ... controlling the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, ... (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) Oxitec has pioneered ... in Brazil , Panama ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... RoviSys, a leading independent ... Aurora, Ohio, has broken ground on a new building in Holly Springs, NC. ... this new location solidifies a commitment to business in the region. The new ...
(Date:5/22/2016)... ... , ... Doctors in Rome say micronutrients found in certain foods have the ... has just posted an article on the new research. Click here to read ... and Translational Medicine evaluated more than 150 studies on polyphenols in cancer for their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: