12 Stories

Plankton Poop Could Now Do Harm Instead of Good

Plastic is moving around ocean waters via feces

(Newser) - The amount of plastic in our oceans is now popping up as gigantic islands and set to outpace the global fish population by 2050. But it's also settling ever so slowly on the ocean floor in the form of plankton poop. And because plastic-laden poop is lighter and falls... More »

A Schooner Sails the World, Makes Amazing Discoveries

Evidence for 10 times more plankton species than known

(Newser) - From 2009 to 2013, the 110-foot schooner Tara sailed around the world, collecting plankton samples from more than 200 sites, some as deep as 6,500 feet down in the ocean, Science magazine reports. Fighting volatile weather, funding issues, and even the threat of pirates, the Tara expedition team still... More »

Rogue Bizman Dumps 100 Tons of Iron Into Sea in 'Experiment'

Canada probing possible treaty violations

(Newser) - A California businessman dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate dust into the Pacific Ocean as part of a rogue "experiment" that has infuriated scientists and government officials. The operation launched by Russ George, 62, spewed the dust off western Canada in exchange for $2.5 million from a native... More »

Rare Right Whales Flock to Cape Cod

Plankton is especially plentiful this year

(Newser) - There are only 473 North Atlantic right whales on the planet, but almost half of them have been spotted gorging themselves on an unusual feast off the coast of Cape Cod this year. "The current must be piling the plankton up," a scientist with the Center for Coastal... More »

Latest Arctic Warning Sign: Early Blooms of Plankton

Essential organisms affected by melting ice: study

(Newser) - Melting Arctic ice has spurred tiny organisms in the region to bloom far earlier, a study suggests—a shift which could have disastrous results for the entire Arctic ecosystem. Phytoplankton are at the root of the food web there: zooplankton subsist on them, fish eat the zooplankton, birds eat the... More »

Great Blue Whales Scarf 500K Calories Per Mouthful

One lunge nets about 1,100 pounds of krill

(Newser) - The blue whale is the most mammoth creature ever to grace the planet, so it might behoove us puny little humans to pay attention to how it sustains its 100-ton-plus mass. Scientist Jeremy Goldbogen monitored some 265 great blues to determine their feeding efficiency (calories expended versus calories gained), reports... More »

Rising Sea Temperatures Killing Vital Algae

Phytoplankton levels fell 40% in the last 60 years

(Newser) - Rising sea temperatures are killing phytoplankton, the microscopic organisms that feed the lower rungs of the food chain in the world's oceans and create much of our oxygen, scientists say. Researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia used a combination of old records and newer satellite images to determine a... More »

Crazy Carp Spark Great Lakes Brouhaha

Mich. sues Ill. in latest move to block voracious fish

(Newser) - Michigan sued neighboring Illinois last week, a most un-neighborly move aimed at blocking the invasive Asian carp from the Great Lakes—and re-reversing the flow of the Chicago River. The case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court, notes the Washington Post , and resurrects another from 1922 over... More »

Geo-Engineers Not Quite Ready to Save Earth

Far-flung ideas hold promise, but the science still lags

(Newser) - Their proposals to combat global warming may sound like science fiction, but geo-engineers insist they can save the planet. Two new reports show that while that may be the case, the science has a long way to go, the Economist reports. The burgeoning field posits that humans can cool the... More »

Early Plankton Blooming May Starve Ocean Creatures

Blossoming disrupted by warming water

(Newser) - A vast and colorful explosion of life in the Arctic Sea—the sudden, unprecedented blossoming of phytoplankton prompted by warming waters—could spell death for untold numbers of creatures, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Phytoplankton, a microscopic but vital part of the food chain, is blooming—and swiftly dying—at... More »

Green Groups Oppose Plan to Curb CO2 With Plankton

Company's project to fertilize oceans with nutrients 'risky,' environmentalists say

(Newser) - An environmental coalition today came out against a project that hopes to slow the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, by stimulating ocean plankton to consume the global warming-linked greenhouse gas. The groups decried the plan by an Australian company to pump nutrients into the sea between the Philippines... More »

Global Warming Battle Goes Out to Sea

Investors back plankton in bid to send CO2 to a watery grave

(Newser) - Plankton may hold the key to solving global warming—or so say Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are investing heavily in the idea. Scientists will dump several tons of plankton-producing iron into the ocean to see if the microscopic organisms will, as they expect, suck CO2 from the atmosphere and carry... More »

12 Stories