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More Whale Poop, Please!

More Whale Poop, Please!

Odds are, you’ve never tried to imagine the enormity of a whale’s excrement. Or perhaps you have, and you can truly wrap your head around how substantial, and messy, the “flocculent fecal plumes” of these incredibly large mammals can be. What you may not know, that scientists are now considering, is that whale poop can help save our acidifying oceans.

How can a couple of whale turds make an impact? The nutritious, krill-dense waste substance is consumed by vast amounts of plankton, who, in turn, take acidifying carbon out of the ocean waters when they photosynthesize as well as when they die and sink to the ocean floor. Whale poop pretty much fertilizes the photosynthesizers of the ocean, and when the whales die, their massive carcasses also sink to the floor with tons of CO2 trapped within. Some scientists estimate that even the small current whale population could be displacing some 400,000 tons of CO2 every year.

Where whales are still somewhat numerous — like the Southern Ocean — the whale pump, as it’s known, spreads nitrogen and binds up carbon in an environmentally substantial way. However, with the severe decline of whales worldwide due to commercial over-hunting — along with the exponentially worsening acidification of our oceans — the marine ecosystem has suffered a steep tip in its delicate balance. Whales are the guardians of our precious oceans, and their poaching only speeds up the impending acidification. Certainly, whales may not be able to singlehandedly solve the problem of our dying oceans, but these giant mammals have a significant impact on CO2 binding that could potentially retard the process if present in great enough numbers.

To state it blatantly: more whales, more whale poop, more healthy photosynthesizing plankton, less carbon. Let’s protect the whales.

Do you believe that more efforts to save the whales could put a dent in the damage we’ve done to our oceans? Is a little whale poop enough to help realign our precious ecosystem?

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Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

98 comments

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11:34PM PST on Nov 4, 2014

Another reason why the whales must be protected they are saving the oceans

12:40AM PDT on Oct 6, 2014

Thank you!

2:21AM PDT on Sep 27, 2014

Not only are whales interesting, but they help the oceans!!
Save our whales!!!

10:16PM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

It is all part of the ecological balance that has gone on for eons...at least until we screwed it up..

6:40AM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

Thank you :)

8:56PM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

We are screwing up the oceans as much as we have screwed up the land. Our great great grandchildren are going to wonder what the @%$! we were thinking.

12:41PM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

more attention of whales cause they are already endangered

6:08AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Lets hope the whales can stay where God intended for them to be. His ocean thrives with life and whales are a great part of the life that the ocean is comprised of.

6:53AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Love whales

6:52AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Noted and signed

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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I'm not supposed to eat kale, so since I only sneak some in here and there I will probably not be ma…

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