RU 28 Displays Relationship Between Nutrient Concentration and Sunlight in Phytoplankton Location
By: Tyler Janoski
It's to be expected that where there is sunlight, there is phytoplankton, right?
RU 28's mission along the Jersey coast indicates otherwise, and instead suggests a relationship between levels of nutrients and sunlight in determining where the phytoplankton are. By detecting concentrations of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis in marine and terrestrial life, RU 28's information therefore indicates the relative levels of phytoplankton in the ocean.
From the graph displaying distance traveled and levels of chlorophyll, there are areas off the coast where phytoplankton predominately occupy the uppermost level, likely near the coast. Yet at other areas, they are limited by the levels of nutrients in the water, and must compensate intensity of sunlight by occupying lower depths for the sake of being able to take in nutrients from the cooler, lower waters.
At one point on the journey, chlorophyll levels peaked at a depth of almost 25 meters, relatively deep for photosynthesizers.
The glider will continue providing more information on its journey, including salinity, temperature, and other measurements.