Every time you take a breath, thank the ocean and phytoplankton. At least half the world’s oxygen output comes from the sea by way of the tiny, drifting marine animals and plants called phytoplankton.
During photosynthesis, the microscopic lungs of the earth, phytoplankton use carbon and returns oxygen to the water and atmosphere. Not only does plankton provide O2, it also is the start of the food web that allows fish, birds and mammals to proliferate.
The group Greenpeace has a terrific “Lungs of the Earth” video underscoring this important aspect of the sea. The group is trying to remind us that oceans get too little credit for their oxygen production, as well as their capacity to absorb CO2.
Phytoplankton production is good indicator of environmental change, too much plankton can be deadly for birds and other animals. These blooms often result in domoic acid that affect animals central nervous systems.
The ocean is a balance, do your part by keeping it clean.