Analyzing samples of polar bears can reveal not only what they ate but also the food web during their lives. Polar bears pictured live in captivity.
(AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Comparison of modern and archaeological polar bears indicates that four millennia of food web stability has been disrupted by modern climate change.
Icebergs in Disko Bay, western Greenland.
Icebergs don’t just pose a risk to ships – they have a profound impact on the natural world and human societies.
Marine life known as zooplankton might be the biggest problem with getting carbon cycling right in climate models. The potential variations in carbon uptake are greater than global transport emissions.
We could sink more carbon in the ocean to fight climate change, but should we?
Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images
From planting mangroves to dumping minerals in the ocean, there are lots of ideas for ocean carbon dioxide removal – and even more questions.
The Osun River has become turbid and unsafe for consumption - threatening its cultural and biodiversity significance. Photo by: Stefan Heunis/AFP via Getty Images.
The ability of the Osun River to support biodiversity is being threatened by pollution and can only be rescued if the contamination ends.
Joost van Uffelen/Shutterstock
Plankton, some of the smallest organisms on Earth, are leading big changes in the ocean.
This enormous, unprecedented algal bloom could have profound implications for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and for the marine ecosystem.
Glaciers aren’t sterile wastelands – they’re chock-full of microscopic life.
These tiny organisms play a huge role in fighting climate change, but they’re under threat.
Ocean carbon storage is driven by phytoplankton blooms, like the turquoise swirls visible here in the North Sea and waters off Denmark.
Microscopic ocean phytoplankton feed a “biological pump” that carries carbon from the surface to deep waters. Scientists have found that this process stores much more carbon than previously thought.
Climate change is changing Antarctic krill habitat. The repercussions for the Southern Ocean food web are huge.
The spectacle of glowing dolphins should serve as a timely reminder of our need to conserve the darkness we have left.
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.