“The oceans will lose their distinctive color within 80 years,” said the alarming study, conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America.
The researchers found that “climate change will cause changes in phytoplankton, which will affect the color of the oceans.”
“This divergence can be very serious,” said Stephanie Dutkitch, who led the study. “The shift of one community of phytoplankton to another will change the food webs of many marine organisms.”
What are phytoplankton?
Dr. Abd al-Rahman Hassoun, a researcher in ocean and sea affairs at the Center for Oceanography in Germany, said in an interview with Sky News Arabia that phytoplankton “form microscopic forests within the oceans and seas, and they are of different types and sizes.”
Hassoun added: “Phytoplankton or phytoplankton are minute plants that are not seen with the naked eye. They take the surfaces of oceans, rivers and lakes as their home, and the life of most marine organisms is not equal without them, as they work to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, as they are considered the first source of food.” in the oceans, where it lies at the bottom of the food pyramid.”
Regarding their types, Hassoun said: “There are many types of plankton, some of which live on silicate material, through which their shell is built, while others live on nitrates or phosphates, and some of them are small in size and are not seen with the naked eye.”
He continued, saying, “Marine phytoplankton differ in the way of formation, but they are microscopic plants, and they form marine aquatic forests that we see through satellites and symbolize them in the color of the oceans and decorate them with green and blue colors, in a process known as (photosynthesis), where plants take advantage of the energy of light.” The sun and its use to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic compounds. Plants provide themselves with food, and provide the necessary oxygen for marine organisms.”
How are the oceans affected?
According to Hassoun, “plankton are the mainstay of the marine food chain, and their change leads to direct effects on marine resources.”
Regarding its role and the repercussions of plankton change, Hassoun said:
The changes began in the seas with the types of fish, and this is due to the change in the food chain. The oceans and seas have been dominated for about 1,000 years by types of phytoplankton that cannot be seen with the naked eye, greatly affected by climate changes and the direction of water currents, and these plankton reflect light in a different way. There are certain areas whose color is closer to green, which means high production of these plankton, and the green color may change and turn blue. As all environmental habitats, the oceans are affected by climate change for reasons such as human activities that began with the industrial revolution, which resulted in emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, and high temperatures in the air as well as in the oceans. The carbon dioxide in the air turns into carbonic acid and contributes to the acidification of the oceans, that is, turning it into water with a high concentration of acid. Among the repercussions of climate change, in addition to ocean acidification and rising temperatures, according to Hassoun, the lack of oxygen in certain places negatively affects plankton. Microscopic animal organisms live in the water, and small and large predatory fish feed on these phytoplankton. Climate change has contributed to replacing the type and size of these plankton, which affected the quality of food on which many marine organisms lived. Some whales eat microscopic plankton and live on it, and whenever climatic conditions change, plankton disappears.
Hassoun called for the necessity of “monitoring and controlling marine environmental variables at the local and global levels in order to limit changes and their effects on the environment and living organisms that live in the oceans and seas.”