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'Sinkers' provide missing piece in deep-sea puzzle

he seafloor times the average amount of carbon per sinker, they were able to estimate how much carbon the sinkers were carrying to the seafloor. To their surprise, Robison and his colleagues found that sinkers were delivering almost as much carbon as was the detritus being collected in sediment traps. They had found an additional food source that was more than adequate to feed all those hungry deep-sea animals.

These findings may seem esoteric, but they have global implications. The inability to account for all the carbon reaching the seafloor has been a major concern not only to oceanographers but also to some climate modelers who are trying to understand global warming. The global carbon cycle is like a complex jigsaw puzzle with many interlocking pieces. Robison's research may supply a piece of the puzzle that has long been missing.

Link to news release on web: http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2005/sinkers.html


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Source:Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute


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