Climate change, how can whales possibly help reverse the damage? The answer….whale poop! The story starts with Trophic Cascade, this is where a change in the population of an animal at the top of the food chain has a flow on affect to the animals/environment further down the chain. It has been argued by some countries that killing whales will increase the fish supply by removing their natural predator, since whales have been hunted however the opposite has happened. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Whales feed at deep dark depths of the ocean, they then rise to the surface in the Photic Zone (where photosynthesis happens) to release their fecal plumes or in other words poop.
- The whale poop is rich in Iron and Nitrogen, these nutrients feed the plant plankton that other ocean life feeds off.
- When the whales rise up through the ocean they bring with them plankton. This gives the plankton time to reproduce in the Photic Zone before descending back in to the depths of the ocean.
- The mixing the whales cause by their rising and descending is equal to the amount of mixing caused by all the worlds wind and waves combined!
- The plant plankton on the surface of the ocean also absorbs a huge amount of carbon dioxide before it falls to the bottom of the ocean where it puts the carbon dioxide out of circulation for thousands of years.
In summary more whales means more plant plankton, more plant plankton means more animal plankton, more animal plankton means more fish, more fish means more whales. When we mess with the natural order of things the cycle of life is disrupted causing a butterfly effect. We don’t NEED to hunt whales, we should be nurturing these amazing creatures and in return our environment will benefit.
Climate Change and Whales Blog References
Information found on Climate Reality video produced by Chris Agnos and Edited and Animated by Steve Agnos. http://www.climaterealityproject.org/joinreality