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Daniel Nechamkin Marine Life: The Ocean’s Invisible Forest Until recently, nobody understood the vast effectiveness that phytoplankton had on our planet’s climate. It was commonly thought and understood that land plants contributed more to the carbon cycle than phytoplankton. After all, they are microscopic. After some research done in 1998, it was concluded that in fact phytoplankton take in double the amount of inorganic carbon than what was thought they took in. Meanwhile, land plants were discovered to take in half of what they were previously predicted. Land plants and phytoplankton perform around the same amount of primary production. What makes phytoplankton so effective is that when they die, they sink into the deep ocean, providing an otherwise depleted part of the ocean enough nutrients and carbon. The dead material remains at the deep see because it cools and densens, preventing it from mixing with warm water. The current drags it to all parts of the ocean, where it eventually upwells, spurring an influx of biological growth, with starts the cycle over
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2011 for the course BIO 1107 taught by Professor Devartanian during the Spring '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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