A New Source of Nitrogen Has Been Found in The Arct​ic

by AimeeMiller

Climate change is continuing to affect our ecosystem as we know it and if we don’t make necessary changes, our Earth will no longer be able to sustain us the way it has in the past. Studies of our oceans have recently revealed that a combination of alga and bacteria is allowing the essential element, nitrogen, to develop in the Arctic Ocean. This particular combination is creating nitrogen in a form that can be used by organisms, which is quite rare.

            Nitrogen is an essential element that is used as a nutrient by microscopic ocean plants that are known as phytoplankton. When scientists discovered tiny phytoplankton in the Arctic, they realized that climate change must have been affecting the ocean’s ecosystem, and will continue to affect the ecosystem. The findings were so shocking to researchers because phytoplankton has never grown in the Arctic, due to its cold temperatures. In the past, phytoplankton had only been found in tropical and subtropical oceans, so they figured that this nitrogen fixation was only sustainable for warmer climates.

            As the Arctic continues to warm and sea ice continues to melt, more phytoplankton is growing and their growing season is continuing to lengthen. Researchers fear that this increase in available nitrogen from the Arctic Ocean will negatively impact biogeochemical cycles in the North Atlantic Ocean, which in turn will cause a chain reaction across all ocean cycles, harming our marine life. If we don’t make changes in order to slow or stop global warming, we will destroy our ecosystem.

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