This article gave a sneak peak about a marine census that has analyzed tiny creatures in the ocean, such as zooplankton and microbes. This census has provided background on the stability of the ocean food chain.
On the west coast of South Africa microbial mats have been recently discovered. These mats are the size of Greece and are a large source of food. This census was one of the largest global collaborations ever done, which included 2,000 scientists from more than 80 nations. Many new species have been identified during the census and each collected species genome was sequenced too. Microbes are the main source of respiration in the oceans; they turn dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide in to usable carbon for other organisms. Microbes are also recycling other nutrients in the water such as nitrogen, sulfur, and iron.
The census also found abundant patches of zooplankton in various location in the ocean. The amount of identified zooplankton species has doubled with the census. Zooplankton are very important contributors to the food chain. This study also looked at burrowers in the abyss. With current technology an abundance of burrower species were also identified.
You can read more about these finding in this science daily article.
Marine Census finds huge Microbial Flats
The final reports of the ocean census will be presented in London in October.