BAR HARBOR — Mike Coffin will discuss the connection between volcanic activity and phytoplankton at the first MDI Biological Laboratory Science Café of the year, set for May 18 at 5 p.m. on the MDIBL YouTube channel.
Coffin is a marine geophysicist at the University of Tasmania who investigates interactions between the oceanic environment and the solid earth, with a focus on the connection between hydrothermal volcanic activity and the biological productivity. Phytoplankton supply half of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, but in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, low iron supply limits the growth of phytoplankton.
Coffin is currently working with samples from the waters around Australia’s only active volcanoes, Heard and McDonald Islands on the Kerguelen Plateau, where there are extensive blooms of phytoplankton despite the surrounding waters being iron deficient as a whole.
This year’s cafés will be a mix of real-time presentations and pre-recorded video lectures this year, according to Jerilyn Bowers, director of public affairs and development.
“We’re approaching this as a wonderful opportunity to reach both our usual in-person audience but also those beyond our geographic reach and help them connect with a diverse range of scientific information and research,” she said.