CBC: Building blocks of ocean food web in rapid decline as plankton productivity plunges
Senior DFO scientist says the cause of the collapse is unknown.
They're teeny, tiny plants and organisms but their impact on ocean life is huge.?
Phytoplankton and zooplankton that live near the surface are the base of the ocean's food system. Everything from small fish, big fish, whales and seabirds depend on their productivity.
"They actually determine what's going to happen, how much energy is going to be available for the rest of the food chain," explained Pierre Pepin, a senior researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John's.
Pepin says over the past three to four years, scientists have seen a persistent drop in phytoplankton and zooplankton in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador.