As the world warms, sweeping changes in marine nutrients seem like an expected consequence of increased ocean temperatures. However, the reality is more complicated. New research suggests that processes below the ocean surface may be controlling what is happening above. Plankton are some of the most numerous and important organisms in the ocean. The balance of chemical elements inside them varies and is critical to shaping many marine processes, including the food web and the global carbon cycle. Temperature has been traditionally thought to control the ratio of these elements. However, a new study suggests this balance is largely dependent on activity in the subsurface ocean, from depths of over 300 feet. The work, led by scientists at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, was recently published in Communications Earth and Environment.