MAR 20, 2017 6:34 PM PDT

Can whales change their environments?


Perhaps you have never thought about where all a whale's poop goes. Well, as soon as you think about it, you've got your answer. But the impressive part of the process is that a whale's so-called fecal plumes actually acts a a huge fertilizer for the surface waters of the oceans. Rich in iron and nitrogen, whales' waste provides the nutrients necessary for photosynthetic plankton to thrive in the photic zone.

But not only do the whales provide fertilizing assistance, by plunging up and down throughout the photic zone, they circulate the photoplankton within the waters, giving them more time to reproduce. And more reproduction means more plankton, which provide bigger species more food (such as the whales themselves who eat krill who in turn eat photoplankton).

More photoplankton is also crucial to our planet's climate because these organisms absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In that way, whales may be responsible for removing tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year - something that is critical for our warming planet. So stand up for whales, stand up for photoplankton, stand up for the planet, stand up for yourself!
About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JAN 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
JAN 21, 2021
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
Earlier this week, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reported that the western monarch butterfly populati ...
MAR 26, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Iconic Bald Eagles are Thriving
MAR 26, 2021
Iconic Bald Eagles are Thriving
Once dangerously on the brink of extinction, bald eagle populations are thriving throughout the lower 48 states of the U ...
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
APR 01, 2021
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
Drinking hot cocoa is comforting on cold winter nights, and new research from the University of Birmingham shows that it ...
APR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
APR 07, 2021
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
Parasites abound throughout the natural world. While not all of them cause the host's death, this newly discovered p ...
JUL 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Modern Slavery in Greece Spotted from Space
JUL 15, 2021
Modern Slavery in Greece Spotted from Space
Migrant settlements being exploited for work have been spotted with satellite imagery by researchers led by the Universi ...
JUL 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
JUL 22, 2021
Telescope Riding a Balloon Could Replace Hubble
The Earth's atmosphere often muffles views from ground-based telescopes when observing space. Now, a research c ...
Loading Comments...