World’s oceans are capturing twice as much carbon as previously thought thanks to microscopic carbon-loving plankton that float down to the ocean depths, study claims

Daily Mail

A biological ‘pump’ that distributes carbon to the bottom of the ocean via tiny plankton is operating twice as rapidly as previously thought, a new study claims.

US scientists say that the level of carbon that is distributed to the ocean floor depends on how much sunlight a microscopic type of plankton gets.

This phytoplankton, which consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen just like plants, is present in the ocean’s sun-lit surface area – known as the ‘euphotic zone’.

Phytoplankton then enters the food chain or falls as organic dead matter, indirectly distributing carbon to the ocean depths.

But variations in the depth at which the euphotic zone ends means differences in how much carbon is being distributed to the bottom.

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