How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic Ocean

The Amazon river is the largest river in the world. It drains the entire Amazon rainforest, sending leftover nutrients, detritus, and minerals from the South American jungle out into the tropical Atlantic ocean. This runoff forms a freshwater plume, hundreds of miles across, that profoundly affects the ocean underneath it. A team of researchers led by Laurence Yeung from University of California, Los Angeles, studied the outer edge of the plume, where a microscopic plant called a diatom teams up with a microbe called a cyanobacterium. Together, they are able to grow rapidly and sequester carbon in the ocean two-three times more efficiently than microbes elsewhere in the plume. By themselves, they may provide more than half the food in this region.

Provided by Ocean180

Runtime: 2:59

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