What is the biological pump as it relates to the ocean?
The biological pump as it relates to the ocean is the removal of carbon (IV) oxide from the atmosphere into the deep ocean, driven by photosynthesis, where an approximated 20 to 40 % of the carbon, which has been fixed by phytoplankton, is transported to the deep ocean .
Where did this study take place? Why is this area important?
The study took place in the Southern Ocean. The area is important because it is fundamental for the control of the carbon in the atmosphere. In addition, the area is rich in nutrients that contain a lot of nitrogen coupled with a minimal biomass of phytoplankton .
What element is typically limiting in the marine environment?
The study indicates that iron is the limiting element .
How is iron stimulation (addition) in the ocean related to the carbon cycle?
The researchers note that the incorporation of limiting elements to the water does enhance the growth of phytoplankton. Iron is considered as a limiting element. The incorporation of iron to the water in the excretions of the organisms in these waters like zooplankton enhances the growth. Enhancing the growth of phytoplankton is said to cause a significant rise in the carbon (IV) oxide absorbed from the atmosphere and the resulting movement of carbon to the deep waters .
What is the most important finding (result) that the authors made in this paper?
The most vital finding is that sperm whales in the Southern Ocean function as a carbon sink, which extracts 240,000 tons extra carbon from the atmosphere per year than they release through their respiratory system. Bearing in this in mind, the researchers consider the significant effect whaling has had on their population, which if not, their influence on the amount of carbon (IV) oxide would have been greater.
Based on the findings that sperm whales play a crucial role in the extraction of carbon (IV) oxide from the atmosphere, their numbers have considerably reduced, which has a considerable impact on the removal of carbon (IV) oxide from the atmosphere. What novel method or thing, not done before, should be implemented or used to boost their number as at the present moment.
Lavery, T. J. et al., 2010. Iron defecation by sperm whales stimulates carbon export in the Southern Ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 277(2010), pp. 3527-3531.