27 Jan In-the-News Update [Issue: Environment]
There has been a decrease in phytoplankton production in the Gulf of Maine. The decrease is caused by an increase in the warmth and salt content found in the water. Although tiny, phytoplankton is an important part of the ecosystem, serving as food for marine life. The small plantlike organisms have been producing less and less as the years go on, showing them to be less than 65% productive than they were 20 years ago. Recent studies have shown that the loss of these little critters can cause massive environmental concerns. Fishing industries that fish for lobster and scallops will be majorly impacted as phytoplankton are one of their main food sources. With their numbers decreasing, animals higher up on the food chain will also start to experience negative impacts as well. The loss of these phytoplankton is providing evidence that there are systematic effects happening to the ecosystems that may not be visible to the naked eye.