A changing climate affects plankton populations

11 June, 2017

​Bacterial and archaeal plankton, as the most abundant form of life in the oceans, profoundly influence the global environment. Based on a broad survey of the seas, researchers from KAUST have developed a model that predicts how climate change might affect these microbial populations.

Temperature, nutrient availability and mortality rates are three primary factors that can strongly influence the numbers of these simple organisms known as heterotrophic planktonic prokaryotes. “I have long been intrigued about possible relationships between these three primary controls and whether or not there are systematic patterns,” said KAUST Associate Professor of Marine Science Xosé Anxelu Morán, who led the research. 

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Image: Collection of ocean water samples at sites around the world offer insights into the forces that affect plankton populations.
© 2016 J.M. Gasol