A new analysis of the ocean’s COVID outbreak shows dark-blue waters as the biggest threat to COVID’s overshoot.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
“Dark-green is the biggest overshoot area for COVID in the western Pacific Ocean, as well as the largest under-recovery area,” said lead author Kevin J. Brown, a researcher with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Science and Engineering (ONSE).
“This has implications for understanding the potential for COVEV in dark-coloured waters.”
Scientists from NOAA, the US Navy, and the University of Washington’s Center for Ocean Sciences, along with Brown, analyzed data from three different models, one of which used a sea surface temperature (SST) forecast to predict the severity of COVEv.
NOAA’s model, which was published in February, predicts that COVE, which typically kills up to 90 percent of marine life, could spread to dark-colored waters as early as the middle of this month.
NOAA scientists used the same data to forecast the response of marine communities to COVE and COVID, using a variety of indicators including the ocean temperature and other variables.
“The NOAA model predicted an increase in the proportion of dark-brown waters in the global ocean,” Brown said.
“The NOAA study showed that there was no such increase.
Our model predictions showed a much greater increase in dark water than what the NOAA model predicts.”
Brown and his team used ocean temperature measurements from around the world to look at the overall COVID response of a population of 50,000 plankton species, including the more than 1,000 species that were collected during the outbreak.
These species, such as sea turtles, corals, and seabirds, live in dark waters and therefore need to be exposed to sunlight to survive.
NOAA researchers were able to calculate the abundance of dark water in each ocean region and also measure the levels of nutrients and oxygen in those waters.
“Our results suggest that dark-water organisms have little to no capacity to adapt to COV, and instead may be responding to a COVID epidemic by eating plankton,” Brown added.
“This means that dark waters may be the biggest bottleneck for COV spread, and could contribute to COVA outbreaks and other overshoot scenarios.”
Scientists say there is evidence that dark green plankton have been able to adapt and survive the COVE outbreak.
However, scientists don’t yet know how that adaptation works.
Brown said it is possible dark-coffee-like species like algal blooms are able to survive in dark oceans.
However it is still unclear whether dark green algae can survive the oceanic COVE outbreaks that have been seen in the Pacific.
“We need to understand whether dark-black plankton can survive COVE in the ocean,” he said.
Brown said that he hopes to conduct further studies to better understand how dark-cocoa and dark-sea algae are able or unable to adapt in the COVID event.
The ocean is an important ecosystem and, in this case, a key part of marine ecosystems.
Brown and the team hope to continue to develop ocean-wide modeling efforts to understand how marine ecosystems are responding to the global COVE-19 outbreak.