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Monday, June 1, 2015

Plankton are a source of oxygen on Earth

Tiny creatures called plankton in the oceans largely considered as food for whales and other large marine animals. But a four-year global study found, among other things, that the plankton is the source of oxygen on the planet.

Plankton are animals, algae, bacteria and other microscopic organisms invisible. They inhabit the upper layers of the oceans, seas and freshwater in the world.
Lake Ontario in North America, where the growth of plankton summer, seen from the International Space Station at NASA. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1HxxpVg)
In a project named "Tara Oceans", which led by the French non-profit organization Tara Expeditions, there are 200 scientists from 45 countries who alternately examines plankton on a ship.

They set sail in September 2009, the Tara's vessel visited 210 locations, where scientists collect 35,000 samples, examining life, genetic composition and movement of these tiny creatures.

Chris Bowler, scientific coordinator of Tara Oceans, said the researchers found that plankton contribute much to the welfare of our planet. Creatures that "produces the oxygen we breathe, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generally maintain the condition of the Earth in order to live a decent human being," he said.

Bowler said that nearly half of the oxygen we breathe comes from diatoms, or mini photosynthetic algae that occupy all the layers of water that gets sunlight.

"Basically it means that every fifth breath, you inhale oxygen that can be directly traced back to the diatom," he said.

"So they are just as important as tropical forests in global contribution."

Executive director of the expedition, Romain Troublé said the study clearly showed that the oceans are Earth's climate machine.

"We believe that the oceans are also a major driver of climate change, the main organizer in the storage of carbon dioxide and heat," he said.

"And these machines work because the sea is in good health."
Different groups of scientists researching different things. One group, for example, makes the catalog to more than 40 million genes previously unknown plankton. Others find that the majority of plankton are parasitic interactions.

The data collected will be used to determine which of these organisms are most able to adapt to the conditions of the water change. The results of the first studies were published in the May issue of the journal Science, and many other analyzes will follow. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOA NEWS]
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