|left to right: Dr. Mark Wells (U. Maine), Trey Joyner,|
Dr. Charlie Trick (Western U.), and Dr. Bill Cochlan (RTC-SFSU)
|Dr. Charlie Trick proving that fun and science do mix!|
This group has been incredible, and it stems from the leadership.
|Julia Matheson, research assistant, Western University,|
London, Ontario, will be spending 12 weeks after
our research at sea in Bermuda with BIOS, Bermuda
Institute of Ocean Sciences as an intern with more time at
sea on the R/V Atlantis.
Speaking with Dr. Trick, I realized that the food chain communities are size-based assemblages. In other words, large planktonic cells are food for larger zooplankton. The larger the phytoplankton, the shorter the food web, making it more efficient energetically. If phytoplankton cells, due to oceanic acidification or other variables, are smaller in size, then the food chain is longer, less efficient, meaning that more sun and nutrients will be necessary to provide the same amount of food for fish and other predators at the top of the food chain. Therefore, it is important to find out the cell size and their relative photosynthetic contribution to the natural community. And, like the iPhone, there's an app for that; in fact, there are multiple tools available that our marine scientists utilize aboard the R/V Melville.
|Andrew Schellenbach, senior at Western University with|
Dr. Cochlan (RTC-SFSU) and Denis Costello and
Kathryn Ferguson in the background.
|FIRe measures photosynthetic health from the ratio derived|
from maximums that saturate the cell.
With every experiment, with every method, with every collaboration and with every conversation; together - they reveal a clearer picture. Like observing a diamond from different angles, using different instruments and different eyes, we not only have a better understanding but a greater appreciation for its beauty. Personally, that is what I'm observing here everyday at sea: Beautiful complexity revealed one test at a time.