Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom in the North Pacific Ocean

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Science  06 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6457, pp. 1040-1044
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4767

Ocean greening off Hawai'i

From June to August 2018, the eruption of Kīlauea volcano triggered a diatom-dominated phytoplankton bloom. Wilson et al. set sail to sample the plume, deploying subsea gliders and using satellite monitoring to measure the dynamics of this rare event in the nutrient-poor Pacific (see the Perspective by Ducklow and Plank). They found subsurface chlorophyll maxima not visible by remote sensing, performed transcriptome and N isotope marker analysis, and measured nutrients, partitioning of biomass into different organisms, and primary production. Much of the data are corroborated by physical modeling of the ocean dynamics. The authors conclude that the plume was fed by the lava heating subsurface water and triggering upwelling of deepwater nutrients to the surface rather than by direct injection of micronutrients from lava.

Science, this issue p. 1040; see also p. 978

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