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Plankton Reporter's Package Text

How productive are phytoplankton? New research techniques may now point toward answers. Scientists have long tried to quantify the output of these little green cells. They're microscopic marine plants, and individually they don't amount to much. But take the measure of a few trillion at once, and you're seeing one of Earth's most important climate influencers. Phytoplankton take up massive quantities of carbon as they grow and release as much as half the oxygen we breathe into the atmosphere. Solving the elusive measurements of productivity means that scientists will have new tools for studying the health of Earth¹s biosphere.

I'm Michael Starobin, reporting.

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Editor: Lynn Jenner
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: November 30, 2007
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