Emiliania huxleyi experience rapid cell division and grow in large numbers. This algae grows into such thick large areas that these masses can be seen from outer space.
A plant paradox
Large masses of algae are referred to as “blooms” and due to their size can have a tremendous affect on the ocean’s temperatures. This type of algae uses photosynthesis to capture carbon dioxide from the ocean and atmosphere; however, the existence of these blooms releases carbon dioxide into the ocean and atmosphere causing a warming of both air and water.
A migration to Arctic waters?
Scientists are currently studying how a change in Arctic water temperatures could trigger a growth of Emiliania huxleyi blooms. This could have an effect on marine life that currently live in the region and also those that may migrate into the area in search of more food and a warmer climate.
In contrast, climate changes are also affecting the pH of the ocean. Lower pH levels could easily have a negative effect on Emiliania huxleyi, reducing numbers and global distributions. This is a great example of the global paradox about climate and environmental change.