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Whale poo, a study


A bunch of scientists at Flinders University in Southern Australia have led a study on how “Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by defecating…”

Take a moment, if you must, to compose yourself.

The study is actually really interesting.  Apparently 1 whale releases about 50 tons of iron a year.  The iron released is their natural fertilization stimulating the process of photosynthesis.  While whales eat in the deep ocean, they use the “facilities” in the upper portion of the water.  It is there that phytoplankton grows, having access to sunlight, and absorbs the carbon dioxide.  When the phytoplankton dies, the trapped carbon sinks to the deep ocean.

So how does this offset work? There are approximately 12,000 sperm whales currently inhabiting the Southern Ocean, that absorb about 400,000 tons of carbon each year.  So the 12,000 whales release approximately 600,000 tons of iron which then offsets the 400,000 tons that they absorb per year.

Got it?

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Filed under: Random, , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. MW says:

    the one thing you left out is the all-important number we really want to know – how many hundreds of thousands of tons of whale poo is swimming around in the ocean as part of all this?

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