Despite grim predictions that carbon emissions will only rise in the coming decades and threaten a vast array of sea life, a recent study published in the journal Science early this year has proven that fish are unwittingly helping to lower elevated CO2 levels in their ecosystems...through their excrement.
Scientists have discovered that the ocean’s calcium, continuously ingested by fish, is turned into calcium carbonate during a biological process separate from digestion, and is excreted as such. The compound’s properties allow it to help balance pH levels disrupted by human-caused carbon emissions.
“This study really is the first glimpse of the huge impact fish have on our carbon cycle—and why we need them in the ocean,” Villy Christensen, associate professor at the University of BC Fisheries Centre, told the Canwest News Service in January.
A team of scientists from the United States, Canada and the UK are estimating that 90 percent of all marine fish produce anywhere from three to 15 percent of this oceanic antacid of sorts. They added that this estimate is conservative, and may be as much as three times higher.