Close-up of a marine nitrogen fixer colony.
Nitrogen-fixing bacteria help tropical phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide, creating a biological pump in the oceans.
A phytoplankton bloom stretching across the Barents Sea off the coast of mainland Europe’s most northern point.
European Space Agency
Populations of plankton are in decline. If we push this critical foundation of the marine food chain to extinction, we could cripple ecosystems for millions of years.
A camera catches a huge Greenland shark in eastern Baffin Bay, near Disko Bay, Greenland.
The eastern Arctic and sub-Arctic marine areas of Canada are changing rapidly under climate change.
Researchers investigated how acidic oceans affect plankton in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica.
Daniel A. Nielsen
Acidic oceans are disrupting a major part of the carbon cycle, slowing how seas absorb carbon from the atmosphere. This could massively speed up the effects of climate change.v
New research shows that chemicals leached from ocean plastic impair the growth and oxygen production of the planet's most abundant photosynthesiser - endangering marine ecosystems and the climate.
Phytoplankton under a microscope.
Phytoplankton are tiny, but they do important work.
Sustained ocean warming could greatly reduce catches of fish like these herring photographed off Norway.
Fish are a key food source for millions of people worldwide. But a recent study finds long-term warming over the next 200 years could starve tiny plankton, with impacts that would ripple up food chains.
The mouth of the Murray River delivers vital nutrients to marine life in the ocean beyond.
Low flows in the Murray River in recent years have harmed tiny marine plants called phytoplankton, with consequences for local marine species and management.
The Agulhas Current plays a critical role in global ocean circulation that influences climatic conditions across the world.
Furious winds keep the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Anarctica free of snow and ice. Calcites found in the valleys have revealed the secrets of ancient subglacial volcanoes.
Melting ice from Antartica could feed vast plankton blooms, trapping carbon in the ocean. To understand this complex mechanism, researchers looked at volcanoes deep under glaciers.
Young African penguins are following the usual cues to feeding grounds only to find that the sources of food in these places is no longer available. This is devastating for their numbers.
The idea is to come up with better alternatives to this.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Japan's fleet is on its way to the Southern Ocean for more "scientific" whaling. But a new resolution pointing out the importance of whale poo could help remove Japan's rationale for lethal research.
Watch out, there’s a mixotroph about.
They 'engulf living prey, suck out their innards, poison them, harpoon them, make them explode, and steal and reuse body parts'. And we ignore them at our peril.
The Balleny Islands off East Antarctica - one of the many stops along the way.
Why spend three months completing a lap of Antarctica (and probably getting seasick along the way)? It's the only way to get vital clues about the remote Southern Ocean and its influence on the planet.
A bloom of phytoplankton in the Barents Sea: the milky blue colour strongly suggests it contains coccolithopores.
Wikimedia/NASA Earth Observatory
Tiny organisms change ocean acidity to benefit themselves.
A mass proliferation of
Noctiluca scintillans, a red tide forming dinoflagellate at Clovelly Beach, NSW. It can form dense aggregations that deplete oxygen and produce ammonia.
They give us part of the air we breathe but microscopic phytoplankton can also be toxic. They are also on the move thanks to climate change so a new Australian database hopes to monitor any changes.
Spot the opera house.
The dust storm that turned Sydney red in 2009 triggered plankton blooms in the Tasman Sea, demonstrating how we might fertilise the ocean to take up more carbon dioxide.
The Southern Ocean is remote, cloudy – and full of plankton.
These tiny organisms play a big role in regulating the Earth's climate.
Phytoplankton are responsible for half the world’s productivity. Here, a phytoplankton bloom in the northern Pacific.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr
You may not have heard of them or given them much thought, but phytoplankton — the microscopic plants that grow throughout the world’s oceans — are the foundation of oceanic food webs. Although tiny, they…
Phytoplankon: blooming marvellous.
The Saharan dust that clogged air and dirtied cars recently may seem like a nuisance, but in fact contains some essential nutrients – if, that is, you’re phytoplankton. The dust and sand blown from Africa…