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Research: Antarctic Krill Provide Potent Carbon Sink in Southern Ocean; Counteracts 35 Million Cars
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BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY, Antartica -- Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Scarborough Centre of Coastal Studies at the University of Hull discovered that rather than doing so once per 24 hours, Antarctic krill 'parachute' from the ocean surface to deeper layers several times during the night. In the process they inject more carbon into the deep sea when they excrete their waste than had previously been understood.

Lead Author Dr Geraint Tarling from BAS says, "We've known for a long time that krill are the main food source for whales, penguins and seals, but we had no idea that their tactics to avoid being eaten could have such added benefits to the environment. By parachuting down they transport carbon which sinks ultimately to the ocean floor – an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of 35 million cars – and this makes these tiny animals much more important than we thought."

Krill feed on phytoplankton near the ocean surface at night but sink deeper in the water column during the day to hide from predators. By knowing how these animals behave, we can understand better the contribution they make to removing carbon from the Earth's atmosphere and upper ocean.

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Reader Comments

2 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Diverse Species are a Great Wonder of the World !!
   comment# 1   - msm · plymouth USA · Jul 17, 2011 @ 4:35am

There are dozens of natural carbon banks that occur without: man, bureaucracies or “scientists” with their hand out. The ultimate carbon bank is using the forest timber as a building component. As the tree grows, carbon is bound in cellulose and sugars to provide structure and life; a safe, useful and effective way to store carbon for the long haul, if it were needed to be stored. Phoenix, Arizona with construction at nearly 35,000 new building permits each year and a population of 4 million people. Carbon is banked in the form of building material (lumber) in excess of 500,000,000 lbs of lumber each year. The Carbon estimate less water and other components is %40 carbon. This would mean that in excess of 200,000,000 lbs of carbon are stored in long term form and as a useful building material in Phoenix annually. This will not please those that hope to extract money to do what occurs naturally in nature or want money to think about it. Bad ideas for reducing atmospheric carbon, compress it in a salt or other mine… that burp will kill 1000s. And require carbon to make it happen and manpower to oversee. This was an actual idea that went beyond the table napkin… scary. P.S. CO2 is not a pollutant. The day it is, is the same day Oxygen is a pollutant. It actually has little adverse impact on environment… current CO2 is 375ppm, CO2 reflects back only a small % of the infra red spectrum and maxed out at 90ppm. Sun drives the weather Conserve resources
   comment# 2   - Bud · Mesa, AZ · Jun 19, 2012 @ 12:47pm
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