Culture

Nick at the Orkney International Science Festival – Blue Carbon

By Nick Morrison

CO2 from the atmosphere is stored in the sea by natural processes. Dr Joanne  Wood,Dr David Woolfe (International Center for Island Technology), together with Prof John Baxter (Scottish Natural Heritage), and Mary Spencer Jones (Natural History Museum) explained further.

Dr Joanne Porter described the coastal waters. The kelp Forests absorb CO2 from the sea in similar fashion to terrestrial plants by photosynthesis. In addition to this CO2 absorption they also provide habitat for a wide range of marine species just like a terrestrial wood.Coastal waters are also home to shellfish which use the CO2 from the sea to form their shells.

kelp

photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Mary Spencer Jones described bryozoans. These small animals (0.5mm) form quite large colonies albeit with a slow rate of growth sometimes resembling footballs, and are an ancient life form being found in the fossil record. Again these colonies are habitat for other forms of life.

Kelp forests and bryozoans are becoming increasingly under threat from commercial exploitation.

See The Orkney News Report: Could Commercially Harvesting Seaweed Seriously Damage the Marine Ecosystem?


 

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