In August 2008 the Kasatochi volcano erupted, and spread ash cloud over an unusually large area of the North Pacific Ocean bounded by Canada and the Aleutian Islands. Later that month, a team of scientists including Roberta Hamme, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Victoria in Canada and the study’s lead researcher, identified the beginning of a plankton bloom while on a research cruise. Based on their analyses of air and water chemistry, the scientists found that the ash had fertilized the ocean with thousands of tons of iron, which led to a massive increase in plankton population. The new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters in early October is the first to verify that an infusion of iron from volcanic ash or dust storms is linked to plankton blooms. Despite the increase in plankton however, there was not a record-breaking amount (only about 20% more) of carbon dioxide absorption from that part of the ocean. Contrary to previous expectations, scientists now think that stimulating plankton growth by adding iron to the water in order to decrease the buildup of atmospheric CO2 may not be as effective as previously thought.