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Seaweek - Beautiful Phytoplankton


Tue 6 Mar 2018, 7:00pm–9:00pm

Where: Environment Canterbury, 200 Tuam St, Banks Peninsula, Christchurch District

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: seaweek

Beautiful phytoplankton & their role in our changing oceans.

Celebrate life in the oceans with Dr Paul Broady.

The smallest forms of life, microorganisms, are often overlooked although they have vital roles in the marine ecosystem. For instance, the microscopic algae called phytoplankton resemble plant life on land in that they provide food for almost all of the familiar marine animals.

Without abundant growths of phytoplankton in waters around New Zealand we would not have such rich fisheries. They are amazingly diverse in their shapes, sizes and colours. Different types thrive in different regions of the global ocean and at different times of the year.

We are still learning about what controls their occurrence. Presently there is an intense research focus on the effects on their growth of environmental change caused by human activities.

Our waste waters and agricultural run-off have fertilised coastal waters, whilst increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in surface waters and results in acidification. Global warming also affects surface waters which is already having consequences for phytoplankton.

Because of these complexities the future for phytoplankton is very difficult to predict. Will they continue to provide the environmental services on which we depend? This will depend on how well we care for the oceans. Celebrating the beauty of phytoplankton will help remind us to care for them well.

Paul Broady taught about algae at University of Canterbury from 1985 in courses in microbiology, ecology and plant diversity as well as presenting talks at schools and to a variety of community groups.

He believes that a public awareness of the essential roles of microorganisms in natural ecosystems will help society to make the decisions that will ensure a better future.

Contact: Jocelyn Papprill
Phone: (027) 703-0772