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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Rob Lampe
October 10, 2016 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
Title: Phytoplankton Thin Layers
Abstract: An understanding of phytoplankton distribution and abundance is a fundamental challenge facing biological oceanographers. Over the past five decades, advances in sensory techniques have revealed noteworthy patchiness of phytoplankton with intense subsurface aggregations ranging in size from only a few centimeters to a few meters in the vertical direction. These thin layers of phytoplankton are increasingly recognized as important hotspots of ecological activity as they harbor a large amount of cells within relatively small spatial and temporal scales; evidence suggests that these layers are an important bottom-up control on higher trophic levels and may instigate harmful algal blooms (HABs) that have profound effects on ecosystem and human health. A number of biological and physical mechanisms have been suggested to explain their formation with accompanying mathematical models. In this seminar, I review the current knowledge of phytoplankton thin layer detection and formation as well as their role in trophic interactions and HABs. I conclude that these tools and data provide the necessary foundation for future field studies that can begin to fully understand the ecological importance of this phenomenon.