A side view of the ocean water column shows the process of upwelling, the physical movement of deep, nutrient-rich water from deeper water to the ocean surface. A yellow number one is by large dark blue arrow labelled “Nutrients”. The arrow is pointing upwards from the deep nutrient-rich water to the ocean surface. The nutrients arrow is pointing to a green circle at the surface representing a phytoplankton bloom labelled with a yellow number two. The sun is shining down on the phytoplankton bloom and wind is blowing at the surface. Several circles representing oxygen molecules surround the phytoplankton bloom with a yellow number three. Fish are swimming in a school with a yellow number four. On the right side of the graphic is a nutrient arrow pointing upwards from the deep ocean. The arrow is blocked by a light blue circle with white blocks representing melting ice. Arrows are shown deflecting downwards in the water from the ice with a yellow number five.
Upwelling is an important physical process supporting life in the oceans
- Upwelling brings nutrients from deep water to the sunlit upper layers at the ocean's surface.
- Nutrients and sunlight are needed for phytoplankton to grow.
- Like other plants, phytoplankton use carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce oxygen (O2).
- Phytoplankton growth, known as primary productivity, provides food for many species and supports the entire food web.
- Freshwater on the surface, for example from melting ice, can prevent deep water from mixing upwards.
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