PerspectiveOceanography

Diagnosing nutritional stress in the oceans

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Science  16 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6539, pp. 239-240
DOI: 10.1126/science.abi4684

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Summary

Marine phytoplankton perform almost half of global photosynthesis, and their capacity for carbon uptake is governed by the availability of scarce nutrients. Climate change and anthropogenic inputs are altering the oceanic distribution of these nutrients (1, 2). How individual phytoplankton groups and ocean productivity are responding to these changes is unknown. On page 287 of this issue, Ustick et al. (3) present a global map of nutrient limitation in Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic organism in the low-latitude oceans, on the basis of a new diagnostic metric that could be widely used to monitor shifts in the nutritional seascape.

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