In May 2010, the Greenpeace ship ESPERANZA carried the nine KOSMOS mesocosms from Kiel to Svalbard. Thirty-five scientists from twelve countries deployed these “giant test tubes” in the Kongsfjord off Ny-Ålesund to investigate how ocean acidification affects the plankton community in the Arctic.
The experiment revealed for the first time that small phytoplankton species benefit when additional carbon dioxide (CO2) is dissolved in seawater and its pH declines. The photosynthesizing microorganisms grow and reproduce better, consuming nutrients that otherwise had been available to larger plankton as well.
Photo: Nick Cobbing