If you ask us about natural forms capture and fix carbon from the atmosphere, plants would probably come to mind. Especially the trees; because, due to their large size, they can absorb more carbon dioxide and incorporate carbon into their structures. Now they are not the only ones. Among the animals we also have large carbon sequestrants. And, as with plants, the largest ones are the most effective. Therefore, special attention must be paid Whales.

This is the conclusion of a study that has just been published in Trends in ecology and evolutionNo scientists from Southeastern Alaska University. In such studies, they don’t just look at how whales are involved in carbon sequestration. They also study how they intervene in release more oxygen and nutrients for breeding marine life.

Even so, whales are important allies in the fight against climate change. But, unfortunately, people continue to pollute their waters, causing changes in the temperature of their habitat and even preying on them. The latter, fortunately, is becoming rarer. However, in some places this is still common practice. And they’re not only taking the lives of these majestic animals, they’re destroying some of our best carbon stocks. Judging by the findings of this study, this is another line in which awareness should be raised.

Whales as carbon sequestrants

blue whale This is the largest animal in the world. can be tried on 33 meters long and weigh more 150 tons. Therefore, they contain a lot biomasscomposed, like most living beings, a large proportion of carbon. This turns them into large carbon stores that also remain active for many years, as they are animals. very long lived, which in some cases can live for more than a century. We’re not just talking about the blue whale. Also other species, not so colossal, but no less large.

But the carbon they contain in their structures is not their only advantage as allies against climate change. In this study, its authors also note the importance of your diet. And that’s what every day they consume 4% of their weight in krill and photosynthetic plankton. That is, the blue whale consumes more than 3 tons of this feed; which, after digestion, are deposited back into the sea along with feces. This releases new nutrients to grow more krill and increase photosynthetic plankton. It is important to remember here that during photosynthesis release oxygen. In addition, the plants and algae that perform it sequester carbon for their own growth. Therefore, whales are not just carbon stores. In addition, during migration, they contribute to the release of oxygen and the absorption of even more carbon.


What happens when they die?

We might ask what happens when whales die. Are they releasing all the carbon they have captured in their lifetime? The answer is positive. However, what happens to this carbon is that when the body breaks down deposited on the seabed. This, the study authors explained, “complements the biological carbon pump, which exchanges nutrients and chemicals between the ocean and the atmosphere through complex biogeochemical pathways.”

On the other hand, when they are hunted, in addition to the fact that death occurs prematurelydirectly violates carbon stockwithout any benefits to the seabed.

Fortunately, the demand for whale meat falling all over the world. This endangers the survival of some large whalers, such as the last one left in Iceland. But there is more. And every whale that is hunted is an ecological tragedy. Thanks to this study, there is still something to push, finally, whaling is nothing more than the plot of the novel by Herman Melville.

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Source: Hiper Textual

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