The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and carbon absorbtion plus melting sea ice has provided more open water for plankton to grow in for longer amounts of time during the year.
Phytoplankton are absorbing more carbon year after year as new nutrients come into this ocean. Dramatic shifts in Arctic phytoplankton bloom are occuring, but a larger amount of food isn’t better if it comes at a time when the ecosystem’s other members aren’t able to eat it. Inversely, this carbon absorption also creates ocean acidification – which has its own set of devastating impacts on ocean life – especially plankton. A disastrous Catch 22.
So in the marine food web: Phytoplankton are eaten by zooplankton, which are eaten by small fish, which then are eaten by bigger fish and larger mammals, including human communities.
We are all connected. Phytoplankton are sending a clear message that big changes are now here, for all species.