NASA’s scientists have conducted a first study to observe the global, long-term phytoplankton community trend based on a model driven by the satellite data. A significant decline in certain types of phytoplankton has been discovered and the results of this 15 year long research were published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, on September 23, 2015.
A new study showed the largest known type of phytoplankton algae, diatoms, have globally declined more than 1% between 1998 and 2012. Significant losses in the population have occurred across the North Pacific, North Indian and Equatorial Indian oceans.
Because the phytoplankton algae use carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process, the important question is whether the loss in population will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as it will be transferred to the deep ocean for long-term storage.