Unusual Winter Phytonplanton Blooms along the Pakistan Coast

Today I came across this interesting news report on how there is an unusual phytoplankton bloom taking place in the last few years along the Pakistan coast. The study, published in Nature Communications a few days ago, shows how the phytoplankton blooms are getting increasingly strong in the winter. Possible reasons for this could be the changing weather patterns in the region, or the increasing domestic and industrial waste coming straight into the Arabian Sea from land. We may think of phytoplankton as being always useful, because they set up a food chain, allowing for increased fisheries. This article serves as a good reminder that phytoplankton blooms can also be harmful, such as red tide or the blooms reported in this study, which may disrupt the ecological system along the Pakistan coast. Reports indicate that jellyfish are one of primary sea creatures thriving on these blooms. Jellyfish come with their own hazards and are known to disrupt local ecosystems. Here is an interesting article from the Smithsonian magazine about how jellyfish like to take over ecosystems.

For more details, see this detailed post by the Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The news article by the New York Times is here. The Nature Communications scientific paper can be accessed here.

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About WQ

I received my PhD (2013) in Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science at the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, under a Fulbright fellowship. Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Space Science at Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, Pakistan, where I have been a founding member of the Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL). My general expertise is in Remote Sensing where I have worked with various remote sensing datasets through my career, while for my PhD thesis I specifically worked on Remote Sensing using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and Oceanography, working extensively on development of techniques to measure ocean surface currents from space-borne SAR intensity images and interferometric data. My research interests are: Remote sensing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery and interferometric data processing & analysis, Visible/Infrared/High-resolution satellite image processing & analysis, Oceanography, Earth system study and modelling, LIDAR data processing and analysis, Scientific programming. I am a reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing, Forest Ecosystems, GIScience & Remote Sensing, Journal of African Earth Sciences, and Italian Journal of Agronomy. I am an alumnus of Pakistan National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC), an alumnus of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, a Fulbright alumnus, and the Pakistan National Point of Contact for Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I was an invited speaker at the TEDxIslamabad event held in Nov., 2014. I've served as mentor in the NASA International Space App Challenge Islamabad events in April 2015 and April 2016.

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