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Sperm Whale Faeces Helps Oceans Absorb Co2

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Sperm whale faeces may help oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the air, scientists say.

Australian researchers calculate that Southern Ocean sperm whales release about 50 tonnes of iron every year.

This stimulates the growth of tiny marine plants - phytoplankton - which absorb CO2 during photosynthesis.

The process results in the absorption of about 400,000 tonnes of carbon - more than twice as much as the whales release by breathing, the study says.

The researchers note in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B that the process also provides more food for the whales, estimated to number about 12,000.

Phytoplankton are the basis of the marine food web in this part of the world, and the growth of these tiny plants is limited by the amount of nutrients available, including iron.

Faecal attraction Over the last decade or so, many groups of scientists have experimented with putting iron into the oceans deliberately as a "fix" for climate change.

Not all of these experiments have proved successful; the biggest, the German Lohafex expedition, put six tonnes of iron into the Southern Ocean in 2008, but saw no sustained increase in carbon uptake.

_45593461_polarstern226.jpg The Lohafex expedition was the latest to probe iron fertilisation Although 400,000 tonnes of carbon is less than one-ten-thousandth of the annual emissions from burning fossil fuels, the researchers note that the global total could be more substantial.

There are estimated to be several hundred thousand sperm whales in the oceans, though they are notoriously difficult to count; and lack of iron limits phytoplankton growth in many regions besides the Southern Ocean.

So it could be that whale faeces are fertilising plants in several parts of the world.

Crucial to the idea is that sperm whales are not eating and defecating in the same place - if they were, they could just be absorbing and releasing the same amounts of iron.

Instead, they eat their diet - mainly squid - in the deep ocean, and defecate in the upper waters where phytoplankton can grow, having access to sunlight.

Releasing the iron here is ultimately good for the whales as well, say the researchers - led by Trish Lavery from Flinders University in Adelaide.

Phytoplankton are eaten by tiny marine animals - zooplankton - which in turn are consumed by larger creatures that the whales might then eat.

The scientists suggest a similar mechanism could underpin the "krill paradox" - the finding that the abundance of krill in Antarctic waters apparently diminished during the era when baleen whales that eat krill were being hunted to the tune of tens of thousands per year.

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? :unsure:

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? :eek:

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere :thumbsup: :lol2:

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you :D

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you :D

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. :fishyface: :laughing:

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Share this post


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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details :lol:

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details laugh.gif

It's on the way, I sent it by Whale way...

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details laugh.gif

It's on the way, I sent it by Whale way...

Wrapped carefully in Mink, I hope. :D

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details laugh.gif

It's on the way, I sent it by Whale way...

Wrapped carefully in Mink, I hope. biggrin.gif

If it arrives in one piece it will be a fluke...

( I won't mention the missing E in Minke, that would only make Kynan smile )

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details laugh.gif

It's on the way, I sent it by Whale way...

Wrapped carefully in Mink, I hope. biggrin.gif

If it arrives in one piece it will be a fluke...

( I won't mention the missing E in Minke, that would only make Kynan smile )

It would make him more than smile :bash: He will have a field day on it. I'll never live it down :blushing: Just demonstrates that I didn't have to research it :bookworm:

AND, I'm much obliged to you for drawing his attention to it :death::hang::gun_bandana:

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So maybe we shouldn't waste money recycling & cleaning up OUR faeces ? unsure.gif

A large curly turd beside you in the water ? eek.gif

Get used to it ! It is helping to preserve the hydrosphere thumbsup.giflol.gif

Shut up... I'll Krill you biggrin.gif

Shut up yourself! [he retorted brilliantly] You spout too much. fish.giflaughing.gif

I'm blubbering now crybaby.gif

Sperm me the details laugh.gif

It's on the way, I sent it by Whale way...

Wrapped carefully in Mink, I hope. biggrin.gif

If it arrives in one piece it will be a fluke...

( I won't mention the missing E in Minke, that would only make Kynan smile )

It would make him more than smile bash.gif He will have a field day on it. I'll never live it down blushing.gif Just demonstrates that I didn't have to research it book.gif

AND, I'm much obliged to you for drawing his attention to it death.gifhang.gifgun_bandana.gif

Have you got the Hump Back ? wink.gif

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No. I'm baleen you out on that one, seeing that you have a Pygmy Bryde.

Fin :lol2:

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No. I'm baleen you out on that one, seeing that you have a Pygmy Bryde.

Fin lol.gif

Are you being rude about my wife on Porpoise, it's making me Blue...

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Lindop's are in Whales, but I'm not Blue about it

Kingo :thumbsup:

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