Connect to share and comment

Plankton absorption of CO2 greater than previous estimates

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine found that all types of plankton absorb twice the amount carbon dioxide than previously thought.

carbon dioxide planktonEnlarge
Scientists say that plankton holds far more CO2 than once thought. (NASA/AFP/Getty Images)

Plankton plays a bigger role in trapping CO2 than previous estimates by scientists.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine found that all types of plankton absorb twice the amount carbon dioxide than previously thought.

Red Orbit said that the findings throw into question something known as the Redfield ratio.

The ratio holds that plankton and the materials they release contain the same ratio of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous.

“The Redfield concept remains a central tenet in ocean biology and chemistry," said study author Adam Martiny at UC Irvine, reported the Los Angeles Times.

More from GlobalPost: Ocean plankton bloom in the North Atlantic

"However, we clearly show that the nutrient content ratio in plankton is not constant and thus reject this longstanding central theory for ocean science. Instead, we show that plankton follow a strong latitudinal pattern.”

The finding is important as the amount of carbon dioxide has effects on climate change.

Researchers used samples from all over the world over seven expeditions to various climates.

They found that levels of CO2 varied depending on ocean depth but varied more due to latitude, with warmer waters richer in carbon, said R&D.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130318/plankton-absorption-co2-more-once-believed