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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
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ScienceShot: Whale Poop Is Ecofriendly
15 June 2010 7:05 pm
Sperm whales are doing their bit for the environment every time they defecate. When the giant mammals blast air from their blowholes, they pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. But a new study of sperm whales in the Southern Ocean indicates that they pay back their carbon debt—and then some. The whales feed at great depths, ingesting squid, octopus, and other animals rich in iron, and then defecate near the water surface where this iron-rich waste fertilizes phytoplankton. The phytoplankton in turn use more carbon for photosynthesis, removing 240,000 metric tons more carbon from the atmosphere annually than the sperm whales respire, the researchers report online tomorrow in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Other marine mammals, such as pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, may also be eco-warriors, the team reports, highlighting another downside to commercial whaling.
See more ScienceShots.