Skip to comments.Ocean plankton suck up twice the carbon we thought they did
Posted on 03/20/2013 11:35:53 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Despite the fuss about CO2 emissions, on a global scale no one is quite sure where a lot of it ends up. Those mystery sinks draw in a large proportion of CO2. Heres a big sink that just got twice as big.
Science Daily Mar. 17, 2013 Models of carbon dioxide in the worlds oceans need to be revised, according to new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated.
The trouble started when someone made an assumption.
In making their findings, the researchers have upended a decades-old core principle of marine science known as the Redfield ratio, named for famed oceanographer Alfred Redfield. He concluded in 1934 that from the top of the worlds oceans to their cool, dark depths, both plankton and the materials they excrete contain the same ratio (106:16:1) of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.
But as any gardener who has done a soil test knows, amounts of those elements can vary widely. The new studys authors found dramatically different ratios at a variety of marine locations. What matters more than depth, they concluded, is latitude. In particular, the researchers detected far higher levels of carbon in warm, nutrient-starved areas (195:28:1) near the equator than in cold, nutrient-rich polar zones (78:13:1).
The Redfield concept remains a central tenet in ocean biology and chemistry. However, we clearly show that the nutrient content ratio in plankton is not constant and thus reject this longstanding central theory for ocean science, said lead author Adam Martiny, associate professor of Earth system science and ecology & evolutionary biology at UC Irvine. Instead, we show that plankton follow a strong latitudinal pattern.
A we farming plankton next? Will we get carbon credits?
POST NOTE (late addition):
The point here is that there is a $176 billion dollar annual turnover in a market that depends on carbon accounting models which dont even have the basic big numbers right. Then there is an assumption that human emitted CO2 will raise global CO2 levels. What if our small extra emissions are mostly swallowed up by plankton (and other as yet unknown sinks). What if CO2 levels are controlled by temperature, not by your SUV?
This is about the folly of thinking we know what is going on.
Adam C. Martiny, Chau T. A. Pham, Francois W. Primeau, Jasper A. Vrugt, J. Keith Moore, Simon A. Levin, Michael W. Lomas. Strong latitudinal patterns in the elemental ratios of marine plankton and organic matter. Nature Geoscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1757
Image Credit : Wikimedia | Wikipedia: Plankton
We mmust stop this consumption of a valuable resource...these critters are stealing food for all of our land based plants that supply us and our meat based life forms with food.
All Hail Plankton!
Right here in Orange County ....California.
Now if they would just go back to teaching the carbon cycle in schools, and the water cycle, and the..............................
Now, if they could just measure their respiration, excretion, and decomposition products, we might just be getting somewhere.
Well... for once GovernMental action doesn’t suck canal water and squander money!!! Phhhhht!!!
So we have to burn all that dirty oil and coal to “save the whales” . . . baleen whale feeders need the plankton to survive . . . yammering leftists need to understand that their clever arguments are no match for God’s wisdom, and it shows . . . it says as much in the Bible.
Sent that Money to UC Irvine.
Back in the 1980s when I believed that AGW was real, I was proposing stimulating the growth of marine algae with which to feed Foraminifera as the only reasonable way to sequester massive amounts of carbon at reasonable cost.
Over hundreds of millions of years these tiny creatures have swarmed the ocean bestowing to the planet their exquisite dwellings, a smidgen of which was once fashioned into the Egyptian Pyramids
So they will admit they are full of it on the global warming thing? I bet not.
Foraminifera form a considerable part of Earth biomass and are in the fossil record
since at least 542.000.000 B.C., but are mainly ignored by the public.
With this non-commercial project we want to foster the interest
in these precious and basal forms of life.
Try the illustrated Taxonomy Guide
Online 19th of March 2013: 6415 forams and new:
Rügen, Germany, Maastrichtian
Neoflabellina reticulata (Reuss, 1851)
Globulina gibba d'Orbigny, 1846
Ile de Porquerolles, France
Elphidium limpidum Ho, Hu et Wang, 1965
Bohai Sea, China
on a special topic
may get attention here
I will NOT Haggle with that.
” - - - The trouble started when someone made an assumption. - - - “
Always test and re-test any and all assumptions.
When you assume....
Headline redactions are me! lol
Somebody ought to make that the basis of a protocol for, oh, I don't know, some kind of discipline of human knowledge or something.
And this is interesting to me:
Posted by Giles Miller on 20/03/2013 1:23:03 PM
One of the most amazing things about working at the Museum is having access to world class facilities to support my work, whether that be managing the collections or doing research. Members of the Imaging and Analysis Centre have been analysing an important foraminiferal type specimen using the Museum nano-CT scanner. This produces a 3-D rendition of something less than half a millimetre wide and helps with classification of this important species that has potential to date rock formations, show past climates and ocean conditions.
A prescan picture of one of the paratypes of the planktonic foraminifera, Globigerina prasaepis (Blow, 1969).
You can see the top of the mounting pin and the air bubbles in the adhesive I used. The scale bar is 0.1mm.
What's a nano-CT scanner?
Electrons from a scanning electron microscope (SEM) beam are directed onto a metal target and this causes X-rays to be emitted. Tiny specimens or samples are then placed between the source and an X-ray camera, allowing 2-D projections like the one above to be taken. The diagram below is posted on the Museum web site where further details and specifications of the Museum nano-CT system can be found.
How is the specimen prepared for scanning?
The first thing to do is to mount the specimen on the head of a pin. To do this I used an adhesive called Paraloid B72 and a fine paint brush dipped in acetone. The specimen is then coated with a fine 20 nanometre coating of gold under vacuum in a sputter coater.
After this the pin needs to be placed precisely on a special holder or sample stage that is rotated through 360 degrees in the x-ray beam. An image is taken for each degree of rotation. The stage needs to be centred so that the specimen stays in the field of view while it rotates. Fortunately I had the expert help of Tomasz Goral to achieve this.
Tomasz is placing the specimen mounted on the end of a pin, onto the rotating sample stage.
Special software is used to take an image every 45 degrees while the stage rotates 360 degrees under the microscope seen above. This tells us where the centre of rotation of the stage is. The stage is then adjusted so that the specimen is as close as possible to its centre of rotation. With such a small specimen this is harder than you'd imagine but was done expertly by Tomasz.
The rotating stage with adjusting screws and the specimen on the end of a pin.
How long does it take?
Once the stage with the mounted specimen is placed into the SEM chamber there are still a lot of adjustments to be made. Different metal targets are available and, for our analysis, tungsten was chosen to produce the X-rays. Several test scans are required to make sure that the images produced are high enough quality to make 3-D reconstructions. Each image is produced by amalgamating a number of frames. The optimum number and length of frame needs to be chosen.
The final setting Tomasz chose was 20 frames of 12 seconds each for each degree of stage rotation. You can do the maths if you'd like to work out how long it took to take 360 of these images! Usually a scan would be done overnight and sometimes it can take as long as 24 hours.
One of the slices produced by the Gatan software. You can see all the chambers inside the specimen
as well as the pores through the calcium carbonate wall of the specimen.
How do you get a 3-D image?
The X-ray projections for every one degree of rotation are then analysed using software developed by Gatan, the makers of the camera. These produce slices through the specimen that are further analysed using a programme called Drishti developed by the Australian National University. Dan Sykes of the Imaging and Analysis Centre used Drishti to produce a 3-D rendition using a process called computed tomography (CT).
Film showing the 3-D rendition of the planktonic foraminifera, Globigerina prasaepis
Using Drishti, Dan was able to decide the axis of rotation of the virtual specimen and vary the plane in which the virtual thin section was illustrated.
Why are the results of interest?
Some members of the International Subcomission of Paleogene Stratigraphy are currently putting together an atlas of Oligocene planktonic foraminifera. The Oligocene spans a period roughly 24-33 million years ago. Subcomission member Dr Bridget Wade of the University of Leeds writes,
"The analysis of holotypes and original descriptions are key to determining and understanding taxonomic concepts of extinct planktonic foraminifera. Globigerina prasaepis was described by Walter Blow in 1969 from Tanzania. It has been a relatively under-utilised species, and the relationship to other taxa is yet to be fully determined."
2-D Scanning electron microscope images of this species show excellent preservation. However, nano-CT images like these allow us to produce a 3-D model and to look inside the specimen and view the arrangements of the chambers. Hopefully this will help to evalute its relationship to other species of planktonic foraminifera and help scientists to accurately identify this species in research samples.
Because planktonic foraminifera secrete their shells directly from ocean water, studies of the carbon and oxygen isotopic signatures of fossil specimens can tell us a great deal about the conditions in ancient oceans and about previous climates. The distribution of various fossil and recent species can also tell us about the positions and directions of oceanographic currents.
Some examples from our collection of scale models of exceptionally preserved ostracods produced from CT scans.
The real specimens are about 1mm long. For details of how the scans were made, see my post on sex in the Cretaceous.
The Museum is committed to making details of its collections available electronically via the web so they can be used for teaching or in research projects like those mentioned above. The scans produced can also be manipulated using special software to produce various 3-D models and 2-D cross sections. Scale models of these specimens can be printed in acrylic using special 3-D printers (see examples above) and could be made available to interested parties.
The raw data set can be made available to anyone interested in studying any species scanned. This method could be particularly useful for studying species of Foraminifera that are usually illustrated and identified in thin section. Making thin sections of microfossils is a dying art so virtual sectioning using this technique has real potential as it is non-destructive and the plane of section can be varied by choice. Previously we had to rely on the skill of the thin section maker to cut the microscopic specimens exactly through the centre.
The images I have shown are promising but there are some interference patterns that make the final rendition slightly fuzzy (see the slice above for example). The Museum have recently purchased and installed a new scanning electron microscope to replace the one that helped towards creating these trial CT-scans. It will be interesting to see if the new microscope can produce even better results.
I am greatly inspired by the British Geological Survey who are producing 3-D images of their type collections as well as those from other UK museums. It would be great to work with them and do a similar project on microfossil type specimens like the one presented here.
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Look at what they are doing to those little thingeys.....
That’s pretty shocking. Is PETA aware of this?
Time to run some errands.
Thanks for all the pings.
I wonder if anyone has an estimate of the amount of oil/gas that ended up in the oceans from WWII? I know it had to be in the millions of gallons as naval vessels carry a lot of fuel oil, aviation fuel etc.
And then I wonder where it all went?
It’s a wonder the monies where not distributed elsewhere before the project got underway.
I’ve been saying this for a few years. It seems that a degree rise in ocean temp will cause an exponential increase in the amount of plankton which “eat” carbon. That means the CO2 part of the ecosystem is self balancing.
sooo.. that means we need to harvest more whales and sharks or less? btw, I gave up seafood for the children... better they get a MacBite than an old fart
That's why it wasn't in Science or Nature, just a Nature subsidiary.
This Greenie paper acts like it is all still down there in the sunken hulls, a ticking environmental time bomb.
Just a wild guess, but after being torpedoed and or bombed, then burning, then probably having any empty compartments implode on the way to the bottom, I seriously doubt if much oil is left inside the wrecks.
Oil floats, folks! That trapped inside compartments would have provided long ago a feast to nutrient starved bacteria on the ocean floor.
Look what they do to iron.
“Iron-Eating Bacteria is Giving Titanic Rustcicles Which Will Recycle Ship by 2030”
A brief scan of the paper seems to show that the author is trying to set up a liability case against the deep pockets governmental owners of these sunken ships.
The article is concerned with Phytoplankton, which use CO2 in the same manner as terrestrial plants.
However, they have illustrated the article with a photo of a “Hyperia”, which is a Zooplankton which eats Phytoplankton, other Zooplankton and detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as organic fecal matter).
It benefits from the CO2 captured by the phytoplankton, but does nothing directly to reduce atmospheric CO2
Another inconvenient truth.
What are the Gore-bots going to do?
“If you had to “illustrate” this article for reader impact, would you choose a photo of a microscopic shrimp, or of a microscopic lawyer pond scum?”
Too many photos of Hillary have been posted this week already.
As to which photo to post, “What does it matter, anyway?”