2. Phytoplankton

 

Marine Ecosystem
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1. Introduction
2. Phytoplankton
3. Carbon in the Sea
4. Carbon Cycle
5. Conditions for Life
6. Limiting Nutrients
7. Nutrient Distribution
8. Life in the Sea
9. Food Webs

Watch The Ocean's Green Machines from NASA - life on our planet would clearly not be the same without phytoplankton.


We will focus on photosynthetic communities which derive their energy, either directly or indirectly, from solar radiation.

The biological effect of photosynthesis extends far beyond the sunlit surface waters or the mixed layer.

Remember from our previous work, that solar radiation typically penetrates less than 200 meters into the sea, therefore, these photosynthetic communities depend on processes in the mixed (surface) layer of the ocean, which forms less than 4% of the water volume of the ocean.


However, the remains of organisms living in the surface waters sink into the deep-sea, as particles of organic matter, called marine snow, thereby supporting life in the mid-water environment, on the abyssal plain and in deep-sea sediments.

©Copyright 2017
March 13, 2017

Send to Don Reed

Department of Geology
San Jose State University

How is carbon stored in the ocean?