Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whale poop fertilizes oceans

Ocean life depends heavily on fertilizer (nutrients) brought up from cold, rich deep water into brightly lit surface zones. Now there's a new mechanism on the books for nutrient "upwelling."

Whales feed under the surface, and poop near the surface, each time bringing a whale-load of nutrients to the surface. Hooray for whale poo. So it turns out that the main function of whales is to move nutrients from one place to another. But hey, that's the whole point of life anyway, from the perspective of biogeochemistry.

Do you know where you've been transporting nutrients from...and to? That would make an interesting story of a life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Residents of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada are really happy about this study. They are also proud to supply Juan de Fuca Strait with tons of fresh poo each day. Untreated, fresh human poo. Yeah!