Microscopic algae known as phytoplankton are photoautotrophic organisms. That is to say that like higher plants, they use minerals (C02, P, N …) and energy from the sun to grow and multiply. As the base of the marine food chain, they are also the base of organic matter production and the sequestration of atmospheric C02. Because of this, understanding the processes controlling their biomass and degradation is a major challenge for scientists.
During the Green Edge cruise aboard the Canadian ice-breaker, much of our work is to keep phytoplankton alive out of their natural environment. We also aim to isolate them to get clonal cultures.
Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that thrive in the ocean currents and are the base of the marine food chain. They are an ecosystem indicator and are therefore important to monitor. Phytoplankton, like terrestrial plants, mainly need two things to grow: nutrients (i.e. food) and light.
The GreenEdge project aims to improve our understanding about phytoplankton in the Ice covered Arctic Ocean.