Climate change may turn important marine organisms into ‘junk food’

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Study shows that predicted future ocean conditions make tiny algae, vital to ocean food webs, less nutritious 

A new experiment by San Francisco State University scientists shows that the oceans of the future may make some types of microscopic algae poor eating for the creatures that feed on them, a shift that would have a big impact on fish and other marine animals we eat.

The study’s subject: tiny but important marine crustaceans called copepods. “They’re just everywhere. It’s hard to find a marine ecosystem where they’re not involved,” explained Morgan Meyers, who led the study as a master’s student at San Francisco State and is now pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Otago in New Zealand. The crustaceans are a crucial link between the base of marine food webs — microscopic algae called phytoplankton — and bigger marine animals. “Copepods often fill that gap by consuming the phytoplankton. They in turn serve as prey to other organisms,” Meyers said.

Read more at SF State News.