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Science for the Public

How Plankton Blooms Absorb CO2

From WGBH: Microscopic plankton play a vital role in the ocean’s absorption of atmospheric CO2. And since that absorption represents about one third of the planet’s CO2, scientists are keen to understand this very complex cycle. Dr. Amala Mahadevan explains how ocean eddies shift layers of warm and cold water, so that the phytoplankton are exposed to sunlight, and then begin to photosynthesize much like plants on land. The process leads to enormous “blooms” that can be seen from space.