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Rocks at the bottom of the deep ocean provide marine food chains with vital nutrients

Rocks at the bottom of the deep ocean provide marine food chains with vital nutrients

Science
March 27 (UPI) -- Marine food chains are fueled by nutrients from decaying rocks located thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean. According to a new study, published this week in the journal PNAS, phytoplankton and marine algae, which form the bases of aquatic food webs, rely on nitrogen released from sediments on the floor of the deep ocean. Advertisement Previously, scientists have argued oxygen in the deep ocean prevents dissolved iron from escaping eroded seabed rocks. The latest findings suggest the opposite is true -- oxygen and organic matter in the deep ocean may actually aid the release of nitrogen from marine sediments. "Our findings reveal that the shallow surface of the deep seafloor provides an important source of iron -- a scarce micronutrient -- for the ocean," le...
Climate change threatens food chains, top predators

Climate change threatens food chains, top predators

Science
March 1 (UPI) -- As the planet continues to get hotter, new research suggests food chains will become less efficient, funneling less and less energy from the bottom to the top. For the study, researchers at the University of Exeter and Queen Mary University of London measured the effects of temperature on the movement of energy from single-celled algae, or phytoplankton, to the microscopic organisms -- called zooplankton -- that eat them. Advertisement The findings, published Monday in the journal Nature, showed an increase of 4 degrees Celsius reduced the energy transfer from phytoplankton to zooplankton by 56 percent. "These findings shine a light on an under-appreciated consequence of global warming," study co-author Gabriel Yvon-Durocher said in a press release. "Phytoplankton and zo...