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Press Release 12-203

Small Marine Organisms' Big Changes Could Affect World Climate

Warmer future oceans could cause phytoplankton to thrive near poles, shrink in tropics

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Image of plankton (diatoms) among crystals of annual sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Plankton (diatoms) among crystals of annual sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Credit: Gordon Taylor


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Aerial image of blooms of phytoplankton forming sea-swirls near New Zealand coast.

Blooms of phytoplankton off the coast of New Zealand in October, 2009, form sea-swirls.

Credit: NASA


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Image of phytoplankton in a dark sea.

Phytoplankton in a dark sea; countless numbers drift through the world's oceans.

Credit: NOAA


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Image of two Odontella aurita diatoms floating in the sea.

Two Odontella aurita diatoms floating in the wide, wide sea.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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Photo of a mix of plankton in a water sample.

A mix of plankton in a water sample taken in winter-spring from Long Island Sound.

Credit: NOAA


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Image of the diatom Attheya longicornis in water from the Barents Sea as seen under microscope.

The diatom, Attheya longicornis, in water from the Barents Sea.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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Cover of the journal Science showing two hands holding a bone structure

The research results are described in the Oct. 26, 2012, issue of the journal Science.

Credit: AAAS copyright 2012


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