Friday, June 15, 2012

Reason #215: Phytoplankton

One side effect of Arctic ice melting due to climate change is something called melt ponds--small pools of standing water where there has historically just been solid ice.

So while a lot of the ice is melting off into the oceans, there are also all these little ponds forming all over the place at the same time. This is still bad, though, right?

Well, technically, but here's the thing--NASA researchers have been investigating these new bodies of water in what, again, has been essentially a frozen wasteland for all of recorded history. And what they've found, in amounts far exceeding anywhere else seen on Earth, is phytoplankton; tiny microscopic plants that form the absolute ground level of the food chain in a sea ecosystem.

These critters can't show up without sunlight, and now that the ice is melting, sunlight is getting much farther down below the surface than it usually does--which means phytoplankton, which means more complex sea life suddenly has something to survive on, and so on and so forth until next thing you know, you've got a vertiable arctic oasis, ruled over by a benevolent race of lobster people.

I should note that the above article does not explicitly mention lobster people, but c'mon--read between the lines.

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