FjordPhyto is a project gathering information on the community of phytoplankton species living within the fjords of the west Antarctic Peninsula. Phytoplankton are microscopic, drifting plants that make up the foundation of the food system, supporting whales, seals, and penguins. They play a critical role in drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and contribute to over half of the Earth's oxygen -- more than the trees and plants on land combined! Fjords along the west Antarctic Peninsula are known to be hotspots of biodiversity. However, melting glaciers are bringing freshwater into fjords and bays, potentially altering these ecosystems beginning at the level of phytoplankton. Help scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD) document the phytoplankton community living within the fjords and expand our current knowledge of fjord ecosystems with FjordPhyto. FjordPhyto is conducted aboard tour vessels exploring the Antarctic coast from November through March each year. While on board, passengers can contribute to active polar research and help us understand more about what fuels the polar entire ecosystem.
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