Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Deep sea fishes remove and store more than one million tons of CO2 from UK and Irish surface waters every year, according to a new study. This natural carbon capture and storage scheme could store carbon equivalent to 10 million per year in carbon credits Fish living in deep waters on the continental slope around the UK play an important role carrying carbon from the surface to the seafloor.

This is a deep sea lizard fish (Bathysaurus ferox) from 2000m depth on the continental slope off the west coast of Scotland.
Credit: Dr. Clive Trueman

Deep sea fishes remove and store more than one million tonnes of CO2 from UK and Irish surface waters every year, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

This natural carbon capture and storage scheme could store carbon equivalent to 10 million per year in carbon credits.

Fish living in deep waters on the continental slope around the UK play an important role carrying carbon from the surface to the seafloor.

It is assumed that deep water fishes all depend on particles that fall from the surface for their energy. These bottom-living deep water fishes never come to the surface and the carbon in their bodies stays at the seafloor. However, at mid-slope depths there is an abundant and diverse ecosystem where a huge volume of animals make daily vertical migrations to feed at the surface during the night. The animals conducting this migration then transport nutrients from the surface back to the deep.

Researchers from the University of Southampton and Marine Institute, Ireland used novel biochemical tracers to piece together the diets of deep-water fish revealing their role in transferring carbon to the ocean depths.

They found that more than half of all the fishes living on the seafloor get their energy from animals that otherwise go back to the surface, and not from settling particles. These bottom-living fishes therefore become a carbon capture and storage facility. Global peaks in abundance and biomass of animals at mid slope depths occur because this is the depth range where the vertically migrating animals are most easily captured by fishes that live at or near the seafloor.

Lead author, Dr Clive Trueman from the University of Southampton, says: "As fishing, energy extraction and mining extend into deeper waters, these unfamiliar and seldom seen fishes in fact provide a valuable service to all of us. Recognising and valuing these ecosystem services is important when we make decisions about how to exploit deep water habitats for food, energy or mineral resources."

As it is difficult to study animals living under a kilometre or more of water, the researchers measured forms, or isotopes, of carbon and nitrogen, in the muscles of fish caught in deep-water research surveys on the continental slope west of Ireland, at water depths ranging from 500 to 1800m. These were collected on the RV Celtic Explorer, a multi-disciplinary research vessel operated by the Irish Marine Institute.

Small differences in the mass of these isotopes mean that they are processed at slightly different speeds in the body, leading to patterns which can show who eats who in the slope ecosystem. By measuring the isotopes in all of the most common species, the researchers were able to estimate how much carbon is captured and stored by these deep water fish.

The study, which is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was funded by the University of Southampton and the Marine Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193911.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, June 3). Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193911.htm
University of Southampton. "Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193911.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins