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Visiting Oceanographer to Speak about Unusual Dinoflagellate Blooms in Arabian Sea

Helga Do Rosario Gomes, a Columbia University oceanographer, will speak at Old Dominion University's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography (CCPO) on Monday, Nov. 8, about her studies of unusual recent blooms of single-cell organisms in the Arabian Sea.

Her talk, which will explore ramifications of climate change, will begin at 3:30 in the CCPO quarters on the third floor of Innovation Research Park Building 1 in University Village. The seminar is free and open to the public, as is a reception with refreshments that will begin at 3.

"Unusual Blooms of the Green Noctiluca Miliaris in the Arabian Sea During the Winter Monsoon" is the title Gomes' presentation.

She is part of an ongoing research collaboration led by the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, India, that has documented the unusual appearance since 2003 of extensive blooms of a large dinoflagellate in the Arabian Sea during late winter and early spring. Before 2003, scientists had found conventional algal blooms in the region during February and March.

Why would relatively large, predatory dinoflagellates overwhelm the smaller algal diatoms? "The extraordinary intensity of these (dinoflagellate) blooms and their unprecedented persistent, annual appearance requires that we begin to question their implications for the ocean carbon cycle and to possible changing phytoplankton diversity associated with climate change in this region," Gomes wrote in the seminar summary.

Gomes, who is associated with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia, uses bio-optics and satellite data to study the effects of climate change on the oceans' biodiversity.

This article was posted on: November 5, 2010

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