satellite photo of ocean with green swirls indicating phytoplankton bloomsHannah Hickey writes for UW News about new research in ice cores that suggests the condition of North Atlantic’s phytoplankton populations is not as dire as scientists have feared. Phytoplankton — tiny floating photosynthesizers — are at the base of the ocean’s food chain, so their health has an impact on every other marine organism. The new research gains a more complete picture of hundreds of years of phytoplankton populations by measuring a gaseous byproduct of these organisms’ metabolism that has been trapped in the ice. While phytoplanktons’ populations have been stable since the beginning of the Industrial Age, the scientists stress that these organisms — and the entire ocean ecosystem — nevertheless face many threats to their continued survival. Image: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2021