Oceanus Magazine
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Carbon Also Flows Through It

The Arctic ecosystem has a unique, complex food web that is fashioned by its distinctive plankton, animal species, and environmental factors. Carbon also cycles through the web from atmosphere to seawater and back. Phytoplankton and algae take up carbon dioxide from seawater and transform it into the organic carbon of their tissue. Then it flows through successive levels of eating animals that convert their prey?s carbon into their own tissues or into sinking fecal pellets. Along the way, some carbon dioxide escapes back to the atmosphere through the organisms' respiration. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)