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Friday Eco-Fact: Australian “Jelly Balls” Could Combat Global Warming

Just another example of Australia’s incredible marine bio-diversity that just so happens to absorb large quantities of Co2:

Large numbers of ‘marine ‘jelly balls’ that have appeared off the east coast of Australia could be part of the planet’s mechanism for combating global warming, scientists have said.

The jellyfish-like animals are known as salps, and feed on small plants in the water called phytoplankton (marine algae).

The plants absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the top level of the ocean.

Dr Mark Baird of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said salps were notoriously difficult for scientists to study in the laboratory and little attention has been paid to their ecological role until recently.  (….)

Different species of salp have been found in waters around the world and attention is now being paid to what effect they may have on global warming.

Salps are also of interest because in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica they are thought to be displacing krill, an important food source for many marine animals.

By eating the algae, the salps turn the algae and their carbon dioxide into faeces which drops to the ocean floor. They also take carbon to the floor with them when they die after a short two-week life cycle.

This is thought to be a natural form of carbon sequestration similar to what scientists are trying to do with carbon capture from emission sources such as power stations.  [Daily Mail]

Well these jelly balls could be nature’s answer to global warming if global warming is even happening considering scientists are now saying we are heading for an ice age.