Coordinating data from nearly half a million records, researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada have created the first historical climate account of phytoplankton, a nearly microscopic organism found abundantly in oceans worldwide.
As a vital component of life, phytoplankton currently accounts for half of all the oxygen-generating photosynthesis on Earth and is also at the very foundation of the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
Alarmingly, however, the scientists discovered that the occurrence of ocean phytoplankton has declined by nearly 50% in the past half century alone.
Supreme Master Television spoke about the significance of this tiny organism with Dr. David Siegel, an oceanography professor at University of California-Santa Barbara in the USA who wrote an editorial on the Canadian research that was published in “Nature” magazine.
Dr. David Siegel – Professor of Oceanography, University of California-Santa Barbara, California, USA (M): As you do photosynthesis, you produce oxygen, all of it at one time came from the oceans and came from phytoplankton before land plants evolved.
Now, about 50% of that net partner production comes from the oceans, through phytoplankton, that oxygen supports all the animals, all the bacteria.
VOICE: The cause for phytoplankton’s decline has been attributed primarily to human-caused global warming as well as polluting fertilizer runoff arising largely from livestock production.
This worldwide loss has also been associated with large decreases in bird and marine mammal populations who depend upon its existence for life.
Another adverse effect has been the reduced capability of the ocean to slow the pace of climate change because of being increasingly impaired in absorbing CO2 emissions.
Dr. David Siegel (M): The authors of the paper find through their statistical analysis that the amount of phytoplankton biomass has decreased by, globally, as much as 40% over the last 50 years. And that is just a huge number.
VOICE: We thank Dr. David Siegel and Dalhousie University researchers for helping us to further understand our interconnectedness with even the tiniest of ocean life.
May we all use this information wisely to quickly reverse such harmful declines and restore the balance of our Earth. During a July 2008 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai, as on many previous occasions, spoke of our irreplaceable ecosystems and the caring responsibility needed for their ultimate protection.