Tag » Plankton

Oceanic Oscillation
April 13, 2015

Oceanic Oscillation

Observing the secret lives of jellyfish

Jessica Luo and Kelly Robinson are jelly lovers — not the jellies you smear on your toast but the ones that float in the ocean, their bell-shaped bodies pulsing like slow-motion heartbeats in the currents of the sea. “I’m just blown away by the beauty and diversity of the jellies,” says Luo, a Ph.D. student […]


Adrift in a Sea of Data
April 3, 2015

Adrift in a Sea of Data

Stunning images of rare zooplankton garner worldwide citizen input

  THEY FLOAT IN THE OCEAN BY THE BILLIONS, these wandering animals whose Greek name means “drifter.” Most are smaller than a pinpoint, their adaptive peculiarities (whip-like propellers, bug-like antennae, hair-like fringes for foraging on algae) visible only under a microscope. Others can be seen with the naked eye, ranging in size from a pencil […]


High Beams
January 24, 2014

High Beams

Electron microscopes light up the world of the small

For a place that takes pictures with what amounts to controlled bursts of lightning, the lab is quiet, almost hushed. Standing in the entrance to Oregon State University’s Electron Microscopy Facility (EMF), you might hear researchers’ soft voices as they discuss the best way to see pollen on a bee’s tongue or to look at […]


Illuminating Plankton
January 23, 2014

Illuminating Plankton

Consuelo Carbonell-Moore has made it her life’s work to document the diversity of one of the ocean’s most abundant life forms: dinoflagellates, a type of plankton. These organisms are no mere bystanders in marine ecosystems. Some produce life-giving oxygen. Others influence the formation of coral reefs. In coastal waters, they can bloom as “red tides” […]


Forms from the Sea
October 9, 2012

Forms from the Sea

Oregon artists reveal hidden worlds in plankton science

During a Pacific Ocean research cruise, Angel White peers into her microscope. The ship rides gentle swells and sways side to side. In her field of view, organisms the size of dust motes rise and fall through their own watery world. “It can be disorienting and enthralling at the same time. The microbes are dying […]


Winter Storms Lead to Spring Bloom
February 1, 2011

Winter Storms Lead to Spring Bloom

New hypothesis supported by satellites and waterborne sensors

If you separate predators from their prey, you get more prey. Now that simple relationship has been used to explain one of the most important annual events in the ocean: the North Atlantic spring phytoplankton bloom. Since the 19th century, oceanographers have sought to explain its origins and have settled on the wintertime mixing of […]