Sampling Phytoplankton Productivity
Phytoplankton, microscopic photosynthetic organisms, are important drivers of carbon cycling in aquatic and oceanic ecosystems. Their abundance drastically influences carbon sequestration and respiration, making them vital to study. Researchers from Finland and the UK show that they are able to get a ten-fold improvement in temporal resolution and thus were able to detect a daily photosynthesis-driven pattern by using in-situ gas sensing equipment in a freshwater ecosystem. This is a great improvement compared to classic methods like the light/dark bottle method, and does not limit study areas like the carbon-14 labelling method. These types of in-situ measurements will help researchers bridge the current gaps between freshwater and terrestrial ecology.
Hari et al. (2008) “High-Frequency Measurements of Productivity of Planktonic Algae Using Rugged Nondispersive Infrared Carbon Dioxide Probes.”