Food chain and ecosystem in Skjálfandi bay
Last week Ph.D. Marianne Helene Rasmussen went on two whale watching tours with us to collect some samples of phytoplankton and zooplankton, which is the first two levels in the food chain. This study is part in a project to study the food chain and ecosystem in Skjálfandi bay.
In the first tour on board Náttfari she took samples of phytoplankton (or algae) using a plankton net. The mesh size of the plankton net was 20 micrometer and only small algeas were collected. The phytoplankton is very small and it is necessary to use a microscope to look at the different species. The phytoplankton is the beginning of the food chain and is the food for larger organisms called zooplankton.
Marianne throwing out the plankton net.
In the second trip Marianne took some samples of zooplankton, and then used a plankton net with the mesh size of 200 micrometer. Zooplankton is the next level in the food chain and it is for example copepods or krill. Zooplankton is the pray of fish and some species of whales.
These samples will be preserved for the reckord at the Whale Museum here in Húsavík.