Loss of tiny organisms hurts ocean, fishing, scientists say

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The warming of the waters off the East Coast has brought the loss of microscopic organisms that make up the base of the ocean’s food chain. Maine-based scientists who recently reported the results of a years-long, NASA-funded study about the subject say the increasing warmth and saltiness of the Gulf of Maine is causing a dramatic decrease in the production of phytoplankton. The tiny plant-like organisms are vital for ocean health. Potential loss of phytoplankton has emerged as a concern in recent years in other parts of the world’s oceans, such as waters off Alaska.