This realization also means that some of the largest whales also defecate a great deal more, which can actually have a huge impact on the ocean’s ecosystem by helping to bloom carbon-absorbing phytoplankton. These phytoplankton help to create the base of ocean food webs. Whale poop also adds iron to the ecosystem, where there may be limited amounts of iron occurring naturally.
Nicholas Pyenson, co-author and curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum, said, “Our results suggest the contribution of whales to global productivity and carbon removal was probably on par with the forest ecosystems of entire continents, in terms of scale. Helping whales recover could restore lost ecosystem functioning and provide a natural climate solution.”
The study showed just how important whales are for the oceans, as they help the ecosystem thrive and produce more food. This creates a circular effect where the whales and the ocean help maintain a balanced ecosystem.
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