Vanishing Marine Algae Can Be Monitored From a Boat With Your Smartphone
[…] Despite it’s importance, scientists have struggled to monitor phytoplankton, and analyzing all of the Earth’s oceans presents obvious logistical hurdles. Those challenges became apparent after one recent study concluded climate change is not to blame for dwindling phytoplankton levels and another refuted that phytoplankton is vanishing at all–igniting debate within the scientific community. The Plymouth’s study is attempting to end the dispute and fill in gaps in phytoplankton research by harnessing the millions of sailors and fishermen who cruise the world’s oceans to help measure phytoplankton levels in the upper reaches of the water.
The program relies on the Secchi app, a new smartphone app devised by the Plymouth scientists that’s named for the Secchi Disk (PDF)—a piece of equipment that’s been used to measure turbidity in water since its invention in 1865 by Italian scientist Pietro Angelo Secchi.