Narrator: This is Science Today. Oceanographers at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography have discovered that certain, naturally-occurring bacteria in the ocean can gang up and kill the phytoplankton that accumulates and forms what are called red tides. Peter Franks, a professor of biological oceanography, says this finding will lead to a greater understanding of how the ocean's ecosystem works when there's not a red tide.
Franks: If you want to learn how the ocean works, you find it in a state that it's not usually in and try to understand how it got there and look at the dynamics of how it gets back. And so a red tide is this really odd perturbation to an ecosystem and we really don't understand how they occur.
Narrator: But by identifying a common marine bacteria as a ‘red tide killer',' researchers are one step closer to an answer.
Franks: It's all a small piece in a big picture and every little bit adds and some smart person ten years down the road will start to put all these little pieces together and come up with some really fundamental insight into how the ocean works.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.