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Phytoplankton Biomass in Bay of Bengal

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    9th Oct, 2020
  • A team of scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) have discovered a way to measure the quantity of chlorophyll-a that indicates abundance of phytoplankton’s in the Bay of Bengal in real-time.
  • Study of phytoplankton biomass is done by analyzing chlorophyll-a. It is a dominant pigment found in phytoplankton cells.
  • The scientists closely tracked the long-term trends of chlorophyll-a in the northwestern Bay of Bengal.
  • Findings: There were two peaks of chlorophyll-a — the primary peak occurred during the pre-southwest monsoon due to the recurrent phytoplankton bloom in the coastal water and the secondary peak occurred during the end of the southwest monsoon, spreading to far offshore areas.
  • Reasons: (1) Increase in phytoplankton; (2) Physical forces such as upwelling, wind-induced vertical mixing, convective overturn and chemicals from various sources including river runoff.
  • Phytoplankton’s are tiny microscopic floating plants found in water bodies.
  • Significance of phytoplankton’s:
    • They contribute more than half of the oxygen in the environment;
    • They reduce global warming by absorbing human-induced carbon dioxide;
    • They also serve as the base of the ocean food chain;
    • They are important bio indicators regulating life in oceans;
    • Their abundance determines the overall health of the ocean ecosystem.

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