The Ocean Is Running Out of Breath, Scientists Warn

Ocean oxygen levels are dropping, and that has big implications for marine life. GSO professor Karen Wishner‘s research on zooplankton and oxygen levels is featured in the latest issue of Scientific American.

The effects of even very subtle dips in oxygen on where zooplankton—animals at the base of the food web—congregate in the water column were documented in a December 2018 Science Advances report. “They are very sensitive,” says study leader Karen Wishner, an oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, even more so than she had expected. Some species swim to deeper, cooler water with more oxygen. “But at some point it doesn’t work for them to just go deeper,” she says, because it can be harder to find food or reproduce in lower-temperature waters.

Read more about Dr. Wishner’s research in a recent GSO story