Monika Winder recently published the article "The Land-Sea Interface: a source of high-quality phytoplankton to support secondary production" and here we have a short intreview with her to find out what she and her co-authors discovered.

Why are these findings important?

The production of nutritious algae in coastal-estuarine ecosystems is an important ecosystem service for sustaining human nutrition from fisheries yield and aquaculture because there is increasing global demand for protein, marine oils and aquatic foods of high quality. 

This ecosystem service is, however, at risk from human activities and climate change by restructuring biodiversity and promoting the formation of harmful or toxic phytoplankton blooms. This study highlights the importance to ensure the production of high-quality phytoplankton taxa that synthesize rich amounts of essential compounds for continuous provision of high-quality food to feed a growing human population.

Diatoms from the Askö-area. Photo: Helena Höglander
Diatoms from the Askö-area. Photo: Helena Höglander
 Nitrogen fixating cyanobacteria from the Askö-area.Photo: Helena Höglander
Nitrogen fixating cyanobacteria from the Askö-area.Photo: Helena Höglander

What's the publication about?

Coastal-estuarine ecosystems are some of the most productive habitats and contribute largely to fish and aquaculture production. This high productivity is ascribed to high primary production and efficient carbon transfer to higher trophic levels. Our novel results reveal that high production of nutritious phytoplankton in the form of diatoms and dinoflagellates in coastal-estuarine ecosystems is an additional factor contributing to high secondary production in coastal-estuarine ecosystems. Cyanobacteria and chlorophytes with low nutritional value for consumers dominate at low-salinity regions and in offshore oligotrophic oceanic regions, while nutritious diatoms and dinoflagellates are abundant in coastal waters.

The scientific paper you can read here.