Zooplankton Declines In North Atlantic

PORTLAND, Maine (November 19, 2013) Declining levels of zooplankton, the microscopic creatures that provide the foundation for the ocean food chain, have been detected in the warmer-than-usual North Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says levels of springtime zooplankton off northern New England were well below average, leading to the lowest levels ever seen for the tiny but critically important organisms.

NOAA Fisheries marine scientist Kevin Friedland said the absence of the normal surge of plankton in the spring is a concern because that's when cod and haddock and many other species produce offspring.

Data from the first six months of the year also show that sea surface temperatures remain warmer than usual in the Middle Atlantic and North Atlantic but it's about 2 degrees cooler than last year's record high.

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