The Oceans Are Dying-- Can We Be Far Behind?
WASHINGTON — Despite their tiny size, plant plankton found in the world's oceans are crucial to much of life on Earth. They are the foundation of the bountiful marine food web, produce half the world's oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide.
They also are declining sharply.
Worldwide phytoplankton levels are down 40 percent since the 1950s, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The probable cause is global warming, which makes it hard for the plant plankton to get vital nutrients, researchers say.