Gulf Oil spill produces “sea snot” due to phytoplankton nutrient limitation

Posted by Jim:

This report in National Geographic jibes nicely with stoichiometric theory: dump huge amounts of organic C into the ocean; this stimulates microbial (bacteria) blooms that deplete inorganic nutrients; phytoplankton become nutrient (N, P) starved and start to excrete lots of “excess C” themselves, producing more and more marine snow (“snot”).

To quote the article: “Phytoplankton produce more mucus when there’s more carbon and less nitrogen and phosphorus available—”exactly the case created by the oil spill,” Danovaro said. An oil particle is mostly hydrogen and carbon.”

Here’s the link.

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