Worm Community Affecting Methane Release in Ocean
Scientists at Oregon State Univ. have discovered a super-charged methane seep in the ocean off New Zealand that has created its own unique food web, resulting in much more methane escaping from the ocean floor into the water column.
Most of that methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming our atmosphere, is likely consumed by biological activity in the water, the scientists say. Thus it will not make it into the atmosphere, where it could exacerbate global warming. However, the discovery does highlight scientists’ limited understanding of the global methane cycle – and specifically the biological interactions that create the stability of the ocean system.
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