COSEE Ocean Systems: News
Whales as Ecological Engineers
Description: There is a tendency for nutrients in the form of biological material to slowly sink away from the ocean surface into deep ocean environments. This downward migration of debris is referred to as a biological pump, and the debris itself is called marine snow. The nutrients in marine snow can become tied up in ocean floor sediments or dissolved in water that may take decades, if not centuries, to resurface. Consequently, ecosystems at the surface of the ocean are often nutrient-poor, whereas cold, deep water is often nutrient-rich. It turns out that whales help to even the balance by a simple mechanism called a whale pump. [Source: ZME Science]
Availability: Full Text
Source: ZME Science
Publish Date: 12/13/2016
Reading Level: Basic
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