Blue whale poo: stimulating carbon sequestration… | tutor2u Geography
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Blue whale poo: stimulating carbon sequestration in southern oceans

A group of marine scientists have set off to analyse the defecation habits and contents of blue whales around Antarctica. The largest mammal to ever live, the blue whale contributes to a carbon cycle that becomes a feedback system

Examining how blue whale poo contributes to marine carbon sequestration is the aim of research by scientists heading for Antarctic waters. These krill-consumers evacuate vast quantities of semi-liquid faeces that fertilise the oceans around the Antarctic continent and promote the growth of surface water phytoplankton. These absorb carbon dioxide from the air immediately above the sea and from marine waters. The plankton are, in turn, eaten by krill (shrimp-like marine life that feed from the underside of sea-ice very often), which are the main food for blue whales. The conversion of carbon dioxide into carbon-rich bio-matter ensures that there is net carbon-sequestration taking place.

The study should help inform the role of blue whales in the entire cycle and is likely to emphasize the critical importance of maintaining blue whale numbers as part of a crucial ecosystem and carbon-transfer process.

You can read the full Guardian article here

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