Planktons Expanding in Arctic Basin, JAMSTEC Finds

JAMSTEC has reported that Dr. Eiji Watanabe and Dr. Jonaotaro Onodera, Research and Development Center for Global Change, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science Technology detected a significant amount of sinking biological materials with particulate organic nitrogen under sea ice during early winter.

Topography map in the Arctic-subarctic regions. Red dots show the location of Station NAP, where the sediment trap has been deployed since October 2010.

It reveals an enhanced role of eddies in transporting nutrient-rich shelf water to the Arctic deep-sea basins with sea ice reduction in recent years. To obtain the results, a sediment trap mooring system was deployed in the Pacific Arctic for observation and an eddy-resolving coupled sea ice-ocean model with the Earth Simulator was used for simulation based on the observational findings.

The findings indicate that plankton habitats are expanding in the Arctic basin, where the sea ice cover is considered to have suppressed the biological productivity of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fishes. It will also enable the researchers to assess the impacts of future climate changes on marine ecosystems over the Arctic region.

This study has been carried out as part of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific for Research by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and published on Nature Communications.

Press Release, May 27, 2014

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