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STATES CHRONICLE – NASA scientists are bound to use laser-equipped satellites to reveal more about oceans and all the inhabitants which live underwater. Researchers believe that it is crucial to find out more about the behavior of plants living near the oceans’ surface to develop a better understanding when it comes to the way in which these ecosystems managed to survive. What is more, they can also analyze how the species of plants in the oceans are affected by the global cycle of carbon.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that these microscopic plants play a significant role in the process of absorbing carbon dioxide, many people are not aware of the mechanism used by these plants to purify the atmosphere while absorbing all the CO2. Thus, researchers working at NASA have decided to implement the use of laser-equipped satellites.
One of these instruments was known as the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite. This craft was launched back in 2006, and it was bound to bring data about the peak and the decline of these minuscule organisms and their ecosystems.
Michael Behrenfeld, who is a marine plankton expert at Oregon State University in Corvallis, stated that it is crucial for scientists to reveal what exactly controls the cycles of development of these plants’ ecosystems. Also, they are interested in developing a way to change the method of evaluation concerning the importance of all parts of the food network.
By using the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization, scientists managed to monitor many species of plankton in polar areas during a wide time span which started in 2006 and lasted until 2015. The discovered that the peak of the cycle happens whenever these organisms manage to outnumber the animals which prey on them.
The decline occurs when the number of predators outgrows the number of phytoplanktons, excessively feeding on them. NASA pointed out that the new perspective appears to be against traditional theories. The traditional one claims that the peak of these plants only occurs when they surpass a particular threshold of rapid growth.
What is more, the tradition pointed out that the decline was visible when the growth rates decreased below the threshold previously established. The new study has also unveiled that the variations registered in the populations of phytoplankton represent the primary factor of change in the stocks of Arctic plankton over the last ten years.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia