Mad Science FAIL: so much for that. We're still doomed.

Hungry shrimp eat climate change experiment

It is another nail in the coffin of using ocean fertilisation to cool the planet. Early results from the latest field experiment suggest the technique will fail.

Earlier this month, the controversial Indian-German Lohafex expedition fertilised 300 square kilometres of the Southern Atlantic with six tonnes of dissolved iron. The iron triggered a bloom of phytoplankton, which doubled their biomass within two weeks by taking in carbon dioxide from the seawater. Dead bloom particles were then expected to sink to the ocean bed, dragging carbon along with them.

Instead, the bloom attracted a swarm of hungry copepods. The tiny crustaceans graze on phytoplankton, which keeps the carbon in the food chain and prevents it from being stored in the ocean sink. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research reported that the copepods were in turn eaten by larger crustaceans called amphipods, which serve as food for squid and fin whales.


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8 Responses:

  1. phoenixredux says:

    Hey, this is perfect! We'll just open a huge chain of All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp Buffets.

    Global climate change problem SOLVED.

  2. gwynjudd says:

    ...thus proving all along that shrimp are the cause of climate change

  3. giles says:

    So at least the boiling oceans will be full of whales and giant squid. And shrimp.

    At this rate Shriekback need to be adding a verse to "Nemesis" about once a week.

  4. mackys says:

    > Lohafex researchers say the results suggest that using iron fertilisation to increase the ocean carbon sink would rely on a complex chain of events, making it difficult to control.

    Um... correct me if I'm wrong, but unless the copepods immediately fart out CO2 when they eat the plankton, then this IS working carbon sequestration.

    The fact that it sequesters carbon into proteins in copepods/amphipods/squids/whales, rather than into a rotting plankton sludge on the bottom of the ocean seems like a bonus, not a detriment.

    We don't need to control every step of the chain. All we have to make sure is that the CO2 goes into something and doesn't come back out.

    • This "farting out CO2" phenomenon is better known as "breathing."

      More food -> more copeopods -> more respiration -> carbon goes back into atmosphere. Sure, some carbon is sequestered in their physical bodies, but most of it gets broken down for energy and released as CO2.

  5. discogravy says:

    well at least we don't have to worry about anemic shrimp.