Dr Candida Savage
In terms of phytoplankton, they not only are at the base of the food web and so important for everything else in ecology, but they also respond quite rapidly to changes in environmental conditions. And there are a suite of different species of phytoplankton which have different tolerances. So by looking at the groups of phytoplankton that we have, we can try and see if there has been changes in salinity, for instance, changes in the light environment and also changes in nutrient availability. So they are also sampling the water column for us and telling us what conditions were like when they were growing there because of their narrow tolerances.
Video: University of Waikato