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Australian Soil Becomes Food for Marine Algae

October 3rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-CO2-Capture, Algae-Cultivation-Marine

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The storms that engulfed Sydney in orange and yellow clouds last week may be a boon for sea life and lower carbon dioxide levels after as much as a million tons of dust were dumped into Australia’s oceans, providing a rich supply of food for algae. 

The gale-force winds that ripped through Sydney may have dumped the iron-rich topsoil from Australia’s drought-ridden Outback into the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, where it would have been absorbed by algae, said Craig Strong, a coordinator for DustWatch, a research and monitoring agency.

The infusion of so much soil into the ocean may prove a veritable feast for plankton that feed on algae and are then eaten by fish, crabs and krill.“It’s been pretty well established that if iron is available, then it will lead to phytoplankton blooms,” said Heiko Daniel, a lecturer in agronomy and soil science at the University of New England in New South Wales. “And they take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

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