Carbon-eating Critters
Helen Thompson, Tom Fannin
Ecole Jules Quesnel Elementary
Floor Location : J 150 V

Phytoplankton are the micro organisms in this world that make up the color of the ocean, they made the great white cliffs of Dover and they produce 40% of our oxygen. They do a lot for us in the world, but what about global warming? Phytoplankton removes carbon from the atmosphere, which makes them very important to us. Phytoplankton are algae and bacteria that photosynthesize and inhabit our oceans and lakes. Since these creatures are microscopic and usually group up, and the fact that they are practically plants, they easily fall to the heat of global warming. rnrnTom and I conducted an experiment to test how well phytoplankton reproduce in variable quantities of light. SeaRa Lim, at the Canadian Center for the Culture of Microorganisms, was able to supply us with 8 flasks. Each flask contained starter diatoms, Ondontella Longicuris, nutrients and salt water. Two of these flasks we put under light for 24 hours, every day. Two others had no light at all. The other 3 we put by a window. Our mistake there was that the window was in between 2 houses and it was winter so they did not receive much light at all. We recorded temperatures twice daily. One sample was kept by SeaRa Lim at UBC, under laboratory conditions as our control sample. rnrnAt the end of a ten day period, Tom and I went to UBC, where Dr. Lacey Samuels helped us use a spectrometer. The spectrometer observes the amount of absorption of light by the phytoplankton. From this we were able to calculate the density of diatoms in each sample. We found very few in the dark samples, the ones by the window only did a little better than the dark samples; the ones with light all the time grew the best. One problem was that our temperatures were not exact. The minimal temperature that phytoplankton need to grow is 16 degC and our temperatures ranged from 14.3 degC to 16.3 degC.rnrnIn conclusion they could not reproduce well in extensive amounts of light, 24 hours for ten days. Neither do they reproduce well in pure darkness, 24 hours for ten days. Our control sample definitely worked the best, 14 hours light, and 10 hours dark. This led us to our final conclusion, phytoplankton need to sleep just like humans they need their shut eye. But they must also be awake; to reproduce you cannot be asleep. If phytoplankton do not reproduce well, then they will take less carbon out of the atmosphere, and global warming may increase.rnrn