delware environmental institute

NSF Highlights: Scientists discover new trigger for immense North Atlantic plankton bloom

NSF Highlights: Scientists discover new trigger for immense North Atlantic plankton bloom

On this July 4th week, U.S. beachgoers are thronging their way to seaside resorts and parks to celebrate with holiday fireworks. Across the horizon and miles out to sea toward the north, the Atlantic Ocean's own spring and summer ritual is unfolding: the blooming of countless microscopic plant plankton, or phytoplankton.

In what's known as the North Atlantic Bloom, an immense number of phytoplankton burst into color, first "greening" then "whitening" the sea as one species follows another. In research results published in this week's issue of the journal Science, scientists report evidence of what triggers this huge bloom.