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NASA Uses ‘Space Laser’ to Observe Environmental Changes in Polar Food Webs

NASA has conducted a new study using a satellite instrument that orbits the Earth which observed the effect of environmental changes in polar food webs on the boom, bust, peak and decline cycles of polar ocean plants.

NASA said Tuesday the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Ortogonal Polarization instrument aboard the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation satellite was used as a “space laser” to monitor plankton in polar regions.

“It’s really important for us to understand what controls these boom-and-bust cycles, and how they might change in the future so we can better evaluate the implications on all other parts of the food web,” said Michael Behrenfeld, Oregon State University marine plankton expert.

The space agency noted that the findings will support commercial fisheries, ecosystem management and NASA’s understanding of the interactions between the climate and ocean ecosystems.

NASA added the study discovered year-to-year variations between predator and prey influenced changes in Arctic plankton stocks in the last decade.

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