free willy

Posts Tagged ‘free willy’

Feces, Migration, Death = Life

Whale poop: I won’t provide a link in case you ingest your daily Good with your breakfast cereal.

Whale poop is turning out to be more than your typical sea-faring fecal matter. Your average free willy feeds at the bottom and breathes up top, conducting his or her business anywhere in between. A pair of university-types recently discovered that their liquidy, plume-like poop invariably floats to the top of the ocean and pretty much serves as marine Miracle Gro.

Courtesy of University of Vermont

While most marine mammals drop the solid varietal, whales buck the trend and send their juice directly to the top, fertilizing phytoplankton and other key players. Harvard University’s James McCarthy (no relation) thinks “[whales] form a really important direct influence on the production of plants at the base of this food web.” The process, now being called the “whale pump,” is critical in our increasingly nutrient-lacking and polluted waters, making the Captain Ahabs of the world look like real creeps. After all, their poop never saves anything.