Scientists discover missing links in the biology of cloud formation over the oceans.
Sulfur compounds are produced by bacterioplankton as they consume decaying algae in the ocean. A sulfur compound dimethylsulfide, or DMS, goes into the atmosphere, where it leads to water droplet formation.
A simplified graphic shows the process by which bacterioplankton send sulfur found in decaying algae into the food web or into the atmosphere, where it leads to water droplet formation -- the basis of clouds that cool the Earth. Credit: Chris Reisch, University of Georgia