NASA New Discovery: Microscopic Plants Found in Arctic Waters

By: WebProNews Staff - June 7, 2012

NASA new discovery: In case you were wondering, it’s not space-oriented. No, according to the folks at Space Ref, an expedition to the Arctic Ocean has uncovered an area saturated in microscopic marine plant life, one that’s richer than any other ocean on Earth. ICESCAPE (Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment) took a good, hard look at the waters around Alaska’s western and northern using optical technology. What they found was nothing short of astounding.

“Part of NASA’s mission is pioneering scientific discovery, and this is like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert,” said NASA’s ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager Paula Bontempi. “We embarked on ICESCAPE to validate our satellite ocean-observing data in an area of the Earth that is very difficult to get to. We wound up making a discovery that hopefully will help researchers and resource managers better understand the Arctic.”

After drilling a three-feet thick hole into the ice, scientists uncovered phytoplankton, which are the base of all marine life. Originally, authorities on the subject believed these plants grew only after the sun-soaked summer months had thinned the ice. However, thanks to recent shifts in climate, the phytoplankton are thought to grow in areas where they were once absent. The discovery has caused quite a stir.

“At this point we don’t know whether these rich phytoplankton blooms have been happening in the Arctic for a long time and we just haven’t observed them before,” ICESCAPE mission leader Kevin Arrigo explained. “These blooms could become more widespread in the future, however, if the Arctic sea ice cover continues to thin.”

The downside: Animals that rely on the plant life for food may miss their opportunity to consume the phytokplankton since these creatures have timed their life cycles around the blooming season. “If their food supply is coming earlier, they might be missing the boat,” Arrigo stated.

WebProNews Staff

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  • michael milton

    It seems as if the basic ingredients for organic life came locked into the original formation of the planet. Once the planet reaches the ‘organic zone’ things start to respond to the temperature change. What we are seeing now is probably the tail end of our planets life form evolution.

    • Dakarian Marks

      Evolution is a myth.

      • Dakarian Marks

        I’m gay and I love penis!

      • common sense

        …and you’re an idiot.

      • scott

        its not a myth….and actually makes more sense than some imaginary guy in the sky creating everything.

        • Scott’s dumbass

          so let us know when you find the missing link living in the woods.

    • Scott’s dumbass

      Asexual reproduction contributing to evolution? So, we’re all retards then. In other words, preceeding generations grow into prime retards, making each passing generation more pure retard than the next? You definitely sound like pure retard. Cause in 100 million years, these frozen nebuli will grow ice claws and start crawling around on ice, turning into ice people right? Just like we shed our tails and webbed feet for the far more economical two legs to navigate dry flatlands with less food.


    We’ll know tomorrow when we all watch Prometheus.

  • Rachel

    Wow, they kind of look like diatoms. Interesting…

  • Hal Eskew Jr

    This is a DOUBLE WOW !

  • http://Nasa Rick

    So climate change is making the Arctic areas more habital; what a surprise! I have been led to believe we were all doomed within 10 years.

  • Rafael

    This means could be under ice life in other planets/moons?

  • The Light

    Very interesting find NASA. To bad that climate change has probably already destroyed unknown amounts of these phytoplankton.

    • Brian W

      Climate change. That’s called evolution. Millions of years pass and yet people thinking climate change is terrible. Newsflash, we were buried under ice until it melted. Sometimes the obvious is hidden. We are miniscule in the world much less universe.

      • Code

        It’s amazing how people like Brian can post on articles about scientific discovery yet is so entirely oblivious to science.

        • DR SVRAGEN


  • Butchboy

    The phytoplankton have been there forever, we are just now able to detect them like this. It is only natural to start blaming climate change. I remember in the 70s I was convinced I would live to see the next ice age- what happened to that? Hey “scientists:” “Climate” = change…., and you can neither keep up nor understand all this “new” stuff that is getting discovered thanks to technology…

  • Mike

    Sounds too much like Dan Brown’s “Deception Point” book.

  • mike

    ok that is true