Ah, who needs plankton?

I’m sure if we just keep talking about President Obama’s birth certificate, this will all go away:

BOOTHBAY, Maine — Phytoplankton. If the mention of the tiny plant organisms that permeate the world’s oceans isn’t enough to pique your interest, consider this: They produce the oxygen in every other breath you take.

Still not interested? This is where it’s hard not to take notice. In 2007, the reproduction rate of phytoplankton in the Gulf of Maine decreased suddenly by a factor of five — what used to take a day now takes five — and according to a recently released study by the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay, it hasn’t bounced back.

So what does it mean? According to Barney Balch, the lab’s senior research scientist and lead author of the study, such a change in organisms at the bottom of the planetary food chain and at the top of planetary oxygen production could have disastrous consequences for virtually every species on Earth, from lobsters and fish that fuel Maine’s marine industries to your grandchildren. But the 12-year Bigelow study focused only on the Gulf of Maine, which leads to the question, will it spread?

“I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know that if you shut down the base of the marine food web, the results won’t be positive,” said Balch.

Balch said the study, which was published recently in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, provides one of the strongest links to date between increases in rainfall and temperature over the years and the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystem. Key factors in the study’s conclusions were driven by 100 years of records on rainfall and river discharge, both of which have increased by between 13 and 20 percent over the past century.

One Response to Ah, who needs plankton?

  1. Imhotep June 11, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Keeping the plight of plankton in mind, Hillary met with Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere of Norway several days ago. She wanted to find out from Stoere how the USA could get its share of the Arctic natural resources that until very recently were inaccessible because they were buried under ice and snow. Global warming has melted all of that ice and snow. Did Hillary say one single word about the destruction of our enviornment caused by the burning of fossil fuels which warms our atmosphere? Are you kidding. She was far more interested in damaging the enviornment even further by getting her share of all that accessible oil, coal, gas, and gold.

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