Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sea Cucumber Excrement Could Save Coral Reefs

Oceans around the world have been acting like carbon sponges for billions of years.

They suck in huge amount of carbon dioxide and thus maintaining the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But the continuous rise of carbon dioxide level due to anthropogenic activities causes the oceans to become acidic. Low water pH is detrimental to coral reefs and aquatic lives, annihilating delicate reefs and fish eggs.

There is one creature that could help save the reefs-- sea cucumber.
Image: animals.nationalgeographic.com
"When they ingest sand, the natural digestive processes in the sea cucumber's gut increases the pH levels of the water on the reef where they defecate," says One Tree Island deputy director, Professor Maria Byrne.

The excrement of this humble creature contains calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which is an essential component of coral.

"To survive, coral reefs must accumulate CaCO3at a rate greater than or equal to the CaCO3 that is eroded from the reef [by ocean acidification]," Maria says.

The waste also provides nutrients to assist coral growth.
Image: seattletimes.nwsource.com
Given its role in coral conservation, we need to control sea cucumber harvesting to lessen the impact on reef health.

info: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/sea-cucumber-poo-could-save-great-barrier-reef-ocean-acidification-coral-one-tree-island.htm

1 comment:

  1. have you tried squashing, i mean, pressing their bladder? :P



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