Phytoplankton trap carbon in them that they take with them to the ocean floor when they die. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
We all know CO2 levels are on the rise and that they are probably contributing to the rising temperatures across the world. Scientists have begun looking towards nature to try and figure out an effective, yet natural way to deal with this looming threat. One way to deal with it might be dumping loads of iron into the ocean - or whale poo.
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Iron is a rich source of nutrients for phytoplankton, a type of algae that uses photosynthesis and exists near the top of the ocean. It removes carbon during the process of photosynthesis, and when it dies, it falls to the ocean floor, trapping the carbon with it.
So scientists have initiated the European Iron Fertilization Experiment, which in 2004, fertilized a 167 square kilometer area in the Southern Ocean with iron sulphate and watched as phytoplankton thrived and then died, taking loads of carbon with them.
Another source of iron for the carbon-hungry algae is whale poo. Feces from Sperm whales in the Southern Ocean have been confirmed to have large amounts of iron in them and it is estimated that these whales pop out 50 tons of iron a year.
These methods have obviously not been researched into enough. Scientists worry that flooding marine ecosystems with large amounts of iron sulphates could have more devastating effects that would offset any carbon emission reduction. And there isn't much to really say about flooding oceans with whale feces - the logistics are simply beyond our current capabilities.
The idea here is promising, and using nature's own resources and carbon-capturing creatures would be a far more natural and intuitive process to heal Mother Earth.