A rare and endangered blue whale, one of at least four feeding 11 miles off Long Beach Harbor in the Catalina Channel, rises to the surface on July 16, 2008, near Long Beach.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home had many convinced that whales could save the world. Now, a new study gives that science fiction premise some scientific proof.
It's not the whales themselves, but their poo that is apparently very beneficial to the environment because it helps produce oxygen and it helps fight carbon dioxide.
The timing for the study couldn't be better. This is the time for great whale watching up and down the coast of California as the annual migration process gets into full swing. All those whales we see are using the ocean as a toilet along the way. Their droppings help produce oxygen which in turn will help fight all things anti-green.
Now to the science:
The study by the Australian Antarctic Division that links whale poo to beneficial blooms of phytoplankton in the South Atlantic. Phytoplankton not only serves as the root source of the marine food chain by using sunlight and carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, phytoplankton grow and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. That phytoplankton helps regulate the ocean's ability to act as a "carbon sink."
Whale poo is said to be 10 million times more efficient in yielding high iron content as opposed to natural sea water. That makes it a perfect phytoplankton producing element, and some could say a natural way to fight global warming.
All we have to do is keep the whale populations growing and well fed.
You may remember an earlier study about cow farts. That one did not find a positive spin for the environment. The gas from cows was credited for speeding up global warming. Whales on the other hand appear to be doing the opposite.