As a marine biologist, Dr. Christian Heesch dives head first into his research and studies of plankton. Through such studies, he has discovered the amazing contributions these tiny organisms make to the oceans and other waters of our universe. A long time native of New York, he often ventures out to the harbor with his nets and bottles that aid him in his research. In a lecture today he shares important information that will educate you regarding plankton according to his findings.
The theme of the Dr. Heesch lecture today will include the terms; microscale, phytoplankton patchiness, and protozoa. The definitions of those terms are briefly described below to help you understand their meaning:
Microscale: less than one meter.
Patchiness: the spatial scales over which significant changes in organism density occur.
Phytoplankton: single-celled bacteria and protozoa that fix organic carbon through photosynthesis.
When you think of phytoplankton you mostly think of things like diatoms (single-celled organisms covered in a shell of silica), or dinoflagellates (these are the single-celled organisms covered with a very beautiful shell made of cellulose). Up until 1980, these were the phytoplankton marine biologists knew of in the ocean. Around 1980, they discovered the cyanobacteria, which included Prochlorococcus and synechococcus. These organisms are actually far more abundant and more important in terms of primary production than the diatoms and the dinoflagellates. These are single-celled protozoa with nuclei and are not all the same size. There are very numerous and very important.
Phytoplankton (tiny plants) and zooplankton (weak-swimming animals) interact with each other. If they want to eat and mate, they have to find a mate and exchange information. Through his sampling and research using nets and bottles, Dr. Heesch uncovered that the food has to be patchy. It’s distributed in blobs that somehow these organisms are finding and exploiting to keep their growth up. Part of his research also includes the understanding of why there are so many species of plankton. Continued research and studies will help find the answer to this question.
It appears as though all life form is somehow attached to the ocean. The research and studies of marine biologists are instrumental in finding the answers to life’s most intricate questions. Their wisdom and knowledge continuously open new doors and find important discoveries. Dr. Heesch has a never ending thirst for the knowledge and understanding of the common connectors in all life forms.
Perhaps, through his continuing research, Dr. Christian Heesch will find the answers to all of his questions regarding plankton. Until then he keeps “swimming” forward with his studies of the mystical and wondrous tiny organisms in the world’s oceans and waterways.