The majority of people go to & # 39; away to avoid even the least dirt & # 39; dirt, but team & # 39; scientists are now preparing for a trip to seven & # 39; weeks to the Antarctic for collecting faeces blue whale and assess its impact on biodiversity and climate change.
"A more detailed shipment of whale whale ever", as declared them participants, aims to test the theory that the waste of the largest mammals in the world has a much more important role in maintaining productivity the southern oceans than previously thought.
"I want to show that whales are ecosystem engineers," said Lavenia Ratnarajah, sea bijogeokimiku at the University & # 39; Liverpool. "The & # 39; conservation campaigns are usually focused on their beauty, but this is not convincing anyone. If we can show how these animals contribute to the functions of & # 39; ocean, then more they can be easily saved.
The blue whale numbers decreased by & # 39; 95% in the early 20th century, but stabilized and recovered partly from the introduction of & # 39; a global ban on catches in 1966. There are now thought to be between 10,000 and 35,000, mostly in the Antarctic.
S & # 39; now, much research focused on breeding and migratory habits of those & # 39; these giant creatures, which can grow to a length of & # 39; over 30 meters and weighing 200 tonnes – more than even the largest dinosaurs. But the new research will consider how to contribute to the levels & # 39; nutrition in Antarctic waters.
The whale droppings act as ocean fertilizer b & # 39; much iron stimulates the growth of & # 39; marine bacteria and phytoplankton – tiny plants that make up the food chain basis of Antarctic and act as the largest source of biological & # 39; carbon sequestration. Without the biological recycling of iron, the Southern Ocean relatively anemic can not & # 39; support as phytoplankton, which is the main food for krill.
The new study will try to quantify what fertilizers impact and demonstrate theories that the whale is irreplaceable in polar ecosystem as other major predators – penguins and seals – tend Cleaners on the more ice than water so that they can provide benefits.
The team – along with & # 39; & # 39 dozen; Other scientists – 19 & # 39; January from Hobart, Tasmania on the Investigator of the Research Vessel, which is funded by the Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Commonwealth and Australian Antarctica Division. They first change the sonar buoys to identify the location of whales and then, in turn, use drones to fly them and wait for the telltale orange plans. Can & # 39; take days.
The stool, which is composed mainly of digested krill, initially emitted at the surface before wasted and then descend to the ground & # 39; ocean. On previous missions, the researchers had to collect samples by hand, but this time they are released they can get drones to do the dirty work.
"I do not want to fall & # 39; it. It is liquid and smell awful," said Ratnarajah, who plans to Tweet about the journey.
"Sometimes I think I have the worst job in the world and sometimes I think I have the best."