Plank­ton a cli­mate change prophet

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

In­ter­na­tional ex­perts are gath­er­ing in Auck­land to dis­cuss how plank­ton DNA can be used to pre­dict cli­mate change.

Plank­ton Planet is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that is aim­ing to crowd­source sailors around the world to gather plank­ton sam­ples and use its DNA to bet­ter un­der­stand and fore­cast the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

Plank­ton is any plant or an­i­mal or­gan­ism that can­not swim against the cur­rents. It pro­duces half of the world’s oxy­gen and acts as a ma­jor reg­u­la­tor of cli­mate change by ab­sorb­ing man-made car­bon diox­ide.

It’s role in nav­i­gat­ing cli­mate change will be dis­cussed in depth at an event An Epic Voy­age Through Our Chang­ing Sea be­ing held at the New Zealand Mar­itime Mu­seum on July 6.

Or­gan­iser Xavier Po­chon said plank­ton’s role in reg­u­lat­ing cli­mate was critical.

It took seven days for a plank­ton pop­u­la­tion to com­pletely re­gen­er­ate, com­pared to the decades it took for forests, he said.

If sci­en­tists were able to un­der­stand how it re­gen­er­ated the in­for­ma­tion could be used to pre­dict fur­ther cli­mate change, he said.

For the event on Thurs­day Po­chon gath­ered a se­ries of ex­perts from the United States, France and New Zealand, in­clud­ing ex­perts which re­search biofloures­cent marine life.

SUP­PLIED

The first im­age of a bioflu­o­res­cent hawks­bill tur­tle.

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