This indicator measures the amount of phytoplankton in ocean water around New Zealand using satellite data. Phytoplankton are microscopic algae and primary producers, meaning they enable those higher up the food web to survive. Phytoplankton growth is affected by the availability of nutrients and light, which in turn are affected by the structure of the upper water column. Large-scale changes to climate and oceanographic conditions can change the water column structure and thus lead to changes in phytoplankton growth and primary productivity. Phytoplankton growth supports marine organisms throughout the marine environment, including fish, mammals, and seabirds (Pinkerton et al, 2019). We monitor the changes in phytoplankton by measuring chl-a concentration to provide an understanding of how marine ecosystems are changing. This affects the services we rely on for economic, cultural, and recreational purposes, such as fisheries (Nixon & Buckley, 2002).
More information on this dataset and how it relates to our environmental reporting indicators and topics can be found in the attached data quality pdf.
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