Students will understand how upwelling affects the ocean nutrient cycle, which therefore allows phytoplankton to utilize the nutrients into energy.
Dense, cold water is normally found deep in the ocean. The remains of dead, decomposing organisms sink to the ocean bottom making the deep ocean waters rich in nutrients. However, phytoplankton, which are the basis for the oceanic food web, live in the upper, warmer sunlit layers of the ocean and need these nutrients to live.
The process of upwelling brings nutrients nearer to the surface. Upwelling occurs when offshore winds move the warmer surface water away from the shoreline, allowing the cooler water to rise or upwell. Where upwelling occurs, marine life is rich.