Phytoplankton Biomass in Bay of Bengal

  • IASbaba
  • October 1, 2020
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Phytoplankton Biomass in Bay of Bengal

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity

In news

  • A team of scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) have discovered a way to measure the quantity of chlorophyll-a that indicates abundance of phytoplanktons in the Bay of Bengal in real-time.

Key takeaways

  • Study of phytoplankton biomass is done by analyzing chlorophyll-a. It is a dominant pigment found in phytoplankton cells.
  • The scientists closely tracked the long-term trends of chlorophyll-a in the northwestern Bay of Bengal.
  • Findings: There were two peaks of chlorophyll-a — the primary peak occurred during the pre-southwest monsoon due to the recurrent phytoplankton bloom in the coastal water and the secondary peak occurred during the end of the southwest monsoon, spreading to far offshore areas.
  • Reasons: (1) Increase in phytoplanktons; (2) Physical forces such as upwelling, wind-induced vertical mixing, convective overturn and chemicals from various sources including river runoff.

Important value additions


  • They are tiny microscopic floating plants found in water bodies.
  • Significance of Phytoplanktons: (1) They contribute more than half of the oxygen in the environment; (2) They reduce global warming by absorbing human-induced carbon dioxide; (3) They also serve as the base of the ocean food chain; (4) They are important bio indicators regulating life in oceans; (5) Their abundance determines the overall health of the ocean ecosystem.

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