Widespread Geographical Disparities in Phytoplankton Ecology Research in the Face of Climate Change: A Review

By Emmanuel Acheampong et al.

” Climate change is a global threat that is better understood through global research spanning many regions, countries, and life-supporting ecosystems. This review focused on the bibliometric analysis of the distribution of a global research compendium on phytoplankton, an aquatic community that accounts for half of the carbon fixation in the global carbon cycle. A total of 716 primary research papers published in the immediate past decade (2012–2022) were reviewed. The articles were sampled from Web of Science and described field and laboratory experiments quantifying the impact of global climate change on phytoplankton from different climate zones (tropical, subtropical, temperate, subpolar, and polar) and ecosystems (freshwater, brackish, and marine). Analyses of these studies suggest that the bulk of the global research effort (80%) focused on high-latitude areas, and only a few (17%) were carried out in the tropics, largely led by four countries (Australia, Brazil, India, and Saudi Arabia), while Africa’s contribution was minuscule (<1%). In terms of ecosystems, the majority (76%) of the research was in marine waters, irrespective of the climate zone. Analyses of these studies also highlighted widespread disparities in phytoplankton research in tropical aquatic ecosystems, particularly in Africa. Strategic investment in terms of targeted funding, institutional networks, and partnerships between the global north and global south are necessary to increase phytoplankton research across different ecosystems in the tropics…”

Related SDGs:

  • Zero hunger
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Climate action
  • Life below water