UK United Kingdom

Scent that guides sea bird helps to cool climate

The scent that guides sea birds towards their prey could also be helping to cool our climate.

Researchers have found that seabirds are attracted to a scent called DMS (dimethyl sulphide), which is emitted by phytoplankton when it is being eaten by krill.

That signal, used by phytoplankton to draw seabirds which eat krill, forms sulphur compounds in the atmosphere that promote cloud formation and help cool the planet.

Seabirds consume the krill, and fertilise the phytoplankton with iron from their droppings, further encouraging growth.

But the number of seabirds is in sharp decline, which could lead to a disruption of ocean ecosystems and a lower level of the DMS which is helping cool the planet.

Read more at Futurity

Join the conversation

1 Comment sorted by

  1. Jason England


    The big death toll of Short-tailed Shearwaters washed up on NSW beaches recently was likely due to a food shortage during their regular ocean crossing.

    We just don't provide the dust-bowl conditions any more that have historically fertilised phytoplankton in the SH.

    Instead of selling it all to China we should cast a little iron ore dust upon the waters.

    Be great for CO2 sequestration too.