Phytoplankton account for about half of global and nearly all of marine primary productivity; consequently, any widespread drop in phytoplankton biomass would almost certainly have severe ecological consequences. Boyce et al.1 have reported strong (∼1% per year) and sustained declines in marine phytoplankton biomass at local, regional and global scales. However, I suggest that some or much of their reported declines are attributable to bias between the two data types used by Boyce et al.1. Although real changes may have occurred, their proper quantification requires removal of the bias component.
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Falkowski, P. & Wilson, C. Phytoplankton productivity in the North Pacific ocean since 1900 and implications for absorption of anthropogenic CO2 . Nature 358, 741–743 (1992)
The author declares no competing financial interests.
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Mackas, D. Does blending of chlorophyll data bias temporal trend?. Nature 472, E4–E5 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09951
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