Global warming has thrown up the prospect of drastic changes in ocean nutrients. But actual studies have thrown up more complicated trends. Fresh research has revealed that changes to the ocean nutrients on the surface might be influenced more by what is taking place deep down in the oceans.
The tiny plankton is the most important and numerous organisms that abound in the oceans and provide food for animals, right at the top of the food pyramid. The microscopic animals and plants of the plankton family are the foundation of seawater and freshwater food pyramids.
There are variations in the chemical elements present inside them. This influences the shaping of numerous marine processes. It includes the comprehensive carbon cycle and the food web.
Previously changes in temperatures were considered to regulate the ratio but the latest studies indicate that the balance between these elements is majorly dependent on what is happening miles below the oceans, starting from 300 feet.
Studies by scientists from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences published their study. The researchers studied ocean nutrient samples from 8 different locations in various oceans across the planet.
Ocean Nutrients Are Controlled From The Sub-surface Levels
It was established that the phosphorus and nitrogen ratio that was passed on from the depths of the ocean ultimately controlled the stability and balance of these ocean nutrients.
They ultimately form the core of the ocean’s wellbeing. This discovery will ultimately help researchers to explore the processes taking place in the complex ocean ecosystem more accurately.
A static ratio has been used so far to determine the balance between nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon in the marine ecosystem. This ratio has been relied upon in the past to make forecasts.
But it appears that this ratio is not a true representation of the wide and complex variety of chemical equilibria that exist in the depths of the oceans. Neither does it reveal the significant role played by the microorganisms in the process of cycling the ocean nutrients.
A process named flow cytometry allowed researchers to scrutinize more cells in a fixed period. This study revealed that the carbon-nitrogen-phosphorus ratio in the cells was dependent primarily on the phosphorus and nitrogen ratio that is delivered from the subsurface level of the ocean to the surface where the phytoplankton are active under the sunlight.
An understanding of the ocean nutrients will ultimately lead to a thorough understanding of the ways that oceans respond to changes in the climate.