Will the plankton grow?

SeaWifs global chl

The western equatorial Pacific is an oceanic desert - not much grows here. Is this because there isn't enough nutrients for the phytoplankton? Would sprinkling the ocean with MiracleGro cause a blooming in the oceanic desert?  We, the incubator team of Sevrin, Michael, Connor with Jaqui and Francois, hope to determine the answer to this.  We have set up incubation chambers aboard the ship, and are trying to grow phytoplankton by giving them amendments of nutrients.  We are amending with iron, nitrate and siicate. 

We used a metal-free pump to collect the samples because Francois' research (and others) has shown that tiny plankton called prochlorococcus don't grow well when you collect them using regular methods (that contaminate with metals and other chemicals).  I suppose it is natural to behave in an unnatural way if you are sucked out of your home and stuck in a bottle while huge alien beings watch your every move.  None-the-less we captured the phytoplankton and are observing them now.  We will update you as to whether they grow, and if so which nutrient(s) help them grow the best.  We will also be complementing these incubations with sampling of the water between 5N and 5S.  

-Sevrin, Michael and Connor