A new study by a scientist from the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory has shed new light on the ocean’s day-night cycle.
The new research was published in Global Ecology and Biogeography and offers a closer look at how the rhythm affects Phytoplankton, the basis of all life on the planet.
The research has shown that the diel (day/night) rhythm does indeed affect plankton life, although the exact methods are still poorly understood.
According to MBL postdoctoral researcher and first author on the paper Ioannis Tsakalakis:
“We know that a lot of traits of different Phytoplankton are based on the day/night cycle. Some dinoflagelletes go deeper [in the water column] to get more nutrients and then go up to photosynthesize. Some store carbon during the day, so they can use it at night.”
While senior author on the paper and MBL Senior Scientist Joe Vallino stated:
“This model contributes to advancing our fundamental understanding of how the ocean works…Being able to predict how the distribution of Phytoplankton will change is going to have repercussions higher up the food web…If you can’t get that base change right, you can’t get anything that’s connected to that above it.”
You can find the original study here.