The ocean produces at least 50 percent of the Earth’s oxygen, and strangely enough, whale poop is the fuel that helps keep our oceans alive. In this episode of Today I Learned, Asha de Vos tell us why we should all say thanks to whales and their poop.
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The ocean produces at least 50 percent of the Earth’s oxygen, and strangely enough, whale poop is the fuel that helps keep our oceans alive. In this episode of Today I Learned, Asha de Vos tells us why we should all say thanks to whales and their poop.
Certain species of whales dive thousands of meters to feed, but whales that feed on krill only dive hundreds of meters. While they might make it look easy, swimming under crushing pressures on one breath of air is quite a feat. Luckily, whales have a few tricks up their flippers. To help conserve oxygen, they’ll shut down certain bodily functions like digestion. This means that when whales surface to breathe, they poop, setting off a chain reaction that starts with the largest ocean inhabitant and ends with one of the smallest—phytoplankton.
By feeding at depth and pooping at the surface, whales transport vital nutrients to the warm surface waters. That’s where phytoplankton use the nutrients to photosynthesize and produce oxygen for us to breathe! So, every breath you take is a little gift from a whale’s butt.
CORRECTION: Some whales dive down hundreds of meters to feast on tiny krill. (00:15)
TIL: Whale Poop Freshens Our Air | Today I Learned