According to the article, Phytoplankton Are Microscopic Marine Plants, hurricanes can affect the microbial life in the oceans. As hurricanes race across the Atlantic Ocean, they may be partly responsible for the phytoplankton blooms that occur there. Two to three weeks after a hurricane hits, NASA satellites have shown that there is a greater than normal growth of phytoplankton. As the hurricane goes by, it leaves a trail of phytoplankton blooms behind. This is evident by the dramatic change in chlorophyll levels.
The extreme hurricane winds stir up the waters of the ocean bringing up nutrients and phytoplankton to the water's surface. The phytoplankton gets more sunlight, which helps them grow and spread, thus creating blooms. As the quantity of these plants increases, it affects the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. As the phytoplankton grow, they will absorb carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is carried to the ocean floor as organic carbon when these plants die and sink. This allows atmospheric carbon to penetrate the deep ocean. This natural process contributes to the carbon cycle.
Crustaceans of Long Island Sound
Recently, the lobster and crab populations in Long Island Sound have been dying off. Scientists are puzzled as to the cause of these deaths; it could be several different types of bacteria or other chemical conditions in the Sound itself. A parasitic paraamoeba is possibly to blame for the lobster's deaths. This organism will enter the nervous system and begins to destroy and swallow up the nerve tissue. Once this parasite has entered the lobster's body, death will occur within twenty-four hours. This condition is known as "limp lobster syndrome".
Another factor in the dying off of the lobster is a bacterial infection, which eats away at the exoskeleton of the lobster. This condition is known as shell disease or chitinolytic shell disease. This is a common disease for crustaceans. There are more than thirty different strains of bacteria that can cause this shell disease. It is most likely to occur in overpopulated areas, because researchers believe that damage to the outer shell is caused when aggressive lobsters fight or when they molt, which can help the bacteria enter the lobster's shell.
Gaffkemia has also caused the dying off of lobsters in the Sound. The bacterium Aerococcus viridians var. homari will infect the lobster's circulatory system. It will invade the heart and blood vessels. This will hinder the circulation and flow of blood flow and possibly may cause the lobsters to hemorrhage to death. This condition is also known as red tail.