Gibraltarian, Lewis Stagnetto, marine biologist and Co-Founder of The Nautilus Project develops first ever Phytoplankton database.
Lewis is currently researching a PhD at the University of Gibraltar studying annual cycles of phytoplankton community structures in the Strait Of Gibraltar. Globally, phytoplankton is responsible for producing 51% of the yearly oxygen production. By contrast, the Amazon Rainforest produces around 21% in the same time period.
Phytoplankton diversity and abundance data play a key role in understanding and tracking the health of any marine ecosystem. To date, there has never been a more complete and comprehensive annual record locally. Monthly water samples have been taken over the last year with 234 phytoplankton species identified to date.
Whilst the work is still in early stages, this catalogue is an essential milestone in monitoring the effects of climate change in Gibraltar waters.
Press release by The Nautilus Project