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Blue economy – Saving whales means saving the planet

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The contribution of whales to reducing greenhouse gases takes a surprise route, as is often the case in nature: Whale excrement is the preferred food of phytoplankton. These plant micro-organisms suspended in the seas and oceans are major consumers of the minerals in faecal matter, which is rich in iron and nitrogen. Capturing CO2 by eating whale waste

Phytoplankton make a decisive contribution to the natural equilibrium of our world: They produce over half of the planet’s oxygen.

When the micro-organisms that eat whale waste grow, they capture about 40% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, which totals about 37 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Phytoplankton capture as much CO2 as 1.7 trillion trees, the equivalent of four times the number in the Amazonian forest.

The diet of whales plays as decisive a part as that of phytoplankton in the fight against global warming. These massive aquatic mammals eat enormous amounts of phytoplankton and, as a result, store CO2 their entire lives. The larger the whale, the more carbon it stores.

An adult blue whale eats the equivalent of 424 kg of carbon each year on average. When a whale dies, it sinks and takes the CO2 it […]

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