Scientists hope to solve mystery of algae blooms in open ocean
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 18, 2010
These ocean studies are important because algae remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and help control climate, the scientists pointed out.
Instruments on the first drifter, placed off Oahu in December 2007, showed a gradual increase in oxygen concentrations in the upper 330 feet of the ocean, the researchers said. The float also detected a gradual decrease in nitrate concentrations in deeper waters.
The oceanographers found that the amount of oxygen produced near the surface through photosynthesis was directly proportional to the amount of nitrate being consumed in deeper water.
They still don't know how the algae obtain deep ocean nutrients but said data show swirling ocean eddies carry nitrate to about 230 feet below the ocean surface.