It’s All Happening at the Zooplankton
New species of deep-sea zooplankton discovered
Scientists have found 10 to 20 new species of zooplankton deep in the Atlantic Ocean, including teeny-tiny shrimp-like creatures, gooey jellyfish-esque plankton, and swimming worms. Zooplankton form the base of many ocean food chains and act as carbon sinks by feeding on carbon-laden plant phytoplankton and then sinking to the ocean depths. The discoveries came as part of an ongoing international Census of Marine Life, which will help scientists figure out whether global warming will harm life in the oceans (more than it already has, that is). “By 2010, the research … will provide a baseline against which future generations can measure changes to the zooplankton and their provinces, caused by pollution, overfishing, climate change, and other shifting environmental conditions,” said lead scientist Ann Bucklin.