Huge Study of Tiny Plankton a ‘Treasure Trove’
Scientists have unveiled the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of the world’s ocean plankton, the tiny organisms that serve as food for marine creatures such as the blue whale, but also provide half the oxygen we breathe.
The international team of researchers spent three and a half years aboard the schooner Tara, taking 35,000 samples of plankton from 210 sites globally, determining the distribution of the organisms, tracking how they interact with one another and carrying out genetic analyses.
Plankton include microscopic plants and animals, fish larvae, bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that drift in the oceans.
“Plankton are much more than just food for the whales,” says Chris Bowler, a research director at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, and one of the scientists involved in the studies published in Science today…
(read more: ABC News - Australia)
image: CNRS/Tara Expitions: Christian Sardet