October 17, 2010

Whale Excrement: Liquidy Flocculent Plume!

Do you know what a liquidy flocculent plume is? No? Well that must be because you've never witnessed the magic of whale excrement!

Scientists are studying the health benefits of whale poo, not for humans but for the ecosystem of the oceans they live in. And they have found that their excement is a vital source of nutrients for countless forms of life underwater. See below for more!

Whale Excrement: Liquidy Flocculent Plume

While many mammals produce excrement in clumps, whale poop is more of a slurry. "Very liquidy, a flocculent plume," says whale expert Joe Roman at the University of Vermont. Flocculence is a state of fluffiness, akin to a tuft of wool. Whale poop doesn't sink to the bottom of the ocean. Rather the fluffy plume floats at the surface. And in a new study, Roman and colleague James McCarthy at Harvard University found this phenomenon explains an important way for ocean ecosystems are fertilized. Smaller organisms, like microbes, plankton and fish, are typically thought of as the stars of the cycling of nutrients through ocean food chains.

Whale Excrement: Liquidy Flocculent Plume

Posted at October 17, 2010 6:21 AM