Tiny Aqua Plants and Animals Are Helping to Capture Carbon in Our Oceans

Microscopic aqua plants are known to store large amounts of carbon dioxide. The tiniest life forms are found to have a significant role in protecting life on Earth. Scientists have found that various marine organisms help store nearly 10-20 billion tonnes of carbon floating on the surface of the ocean. It equals the amount of carbon captured annually by rainforests around the world.

The finding was submitted by the journal Frontiers, the data gathered from undertakings by Tara Oceans Foundations. It used the ship to circumnavigate the globe for ocean-related climate research – collecting marine plankton samples.

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Image: CNN

Scientists looked into five key carbon-fixing enzymes and found that diatoms react to the environmental variability of CO2, giving vital information to model ways that these microorganisms can respond to more CO2 levels.

The study suggested that despite the varying CO2 levels, these tiny lifeforms are efficient enough to absorb CO2 in their cells. That is a highly probable reason for fixing nearly one-fifth of the global carbon fixation problem on Earth.

Diatoms are not the only marine life found to be capable of absorbing carbon. Seagrass, which covers just 0.2% of the seabed – accounts for nearly 10% of the ocean’s capacity to store carbon. It also provides habitat to thousands of species like seahorses and turtles.

Marine Organisms Help Store Carbon Emissions in the Ocean

Image: Coral Reef Alliance

However, seagrass is under threat of extinction. It was noted that nearly 30% of the seagrass has been lost from human activity such as unregulated fishing and industrial interference. Scientists also predict that this decline can accelerate the growth of emissions to 299 teragrams a year (299 billion tonnes).

Also Read: Strengthening Ocean Eddies have Devastating Effect on CO2 Absorption

On the other end of the spectrum, the world’s largest creatures also play a role in curbing carbon emissions. Whales can store nearly 33 tonnes of carbon over a 60-year lifespan.

Marine Organisms Help Store Carbon Emissions in the Ocean

Image: Mammal Research Institute

Considering the above statistics, ocean-based climate solutions are projected to be on the agenda of the World’s Economic Forum’s Virtual Ocean Dialogues, an online event aimed to bring communities together to find solutions for depleting marine habitats.

Via: We Forum

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