Sea bottoms discharge greenhouse gases

While greenhouse gas emissions are increasing to unprecedented levels, the source and sink mechanisms for these emissions are still not yet fully understood. Sea bottoms have been shown to be important contributors of the two strong greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Firstly to the water and finally to the atmosphere, where they cause global warming.

Clams and worms release as much as 7% of the Swedish dairy cow population

A study conducted by scientists from Stockholm University and Cardiff University suggests that worms and clams enhance the release of methane up to eight times more compared to sea bottoms without animals (see picture attached).

- It sounds funny but small animals in the seafloor may act like cows in a stable, both groups being important contributors of methane, due to the bacteria in their gut”, says Dr. Stefano Bonaglia, the lead author of the study and post-doc researcher at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences – DEEP (@deepsthlmuni) at Stockholm University.

- Our estimates show that 10% of the total methane emission from the Baltic Sea may be due to clams and worms, which is equivalent to the methane produced by about 20,000 dairy cows or, in other words, 7% of the Swedish dairy cow population. These small yet very abundant animals may play an important, but so far neglected, role in regulating the emissions of greenhouse gases in the sea, he concludes.

Askö. Photographer: Alessandra Vicenzi (co-author of the study).
Askö. Photographer: Alessandra Vicenzi (co-author of the study).

 

Bivalve farming have an effect on climate and ecosystem

"Although we focused on an abundant Baltic clam species not currently being farmed, our findings are relevant for the debate on the climate and ecosystem level impacts of large scale bivalve farming (e.g. clams, mussels and oyster) in marine coastal habitats", says Stefano Bonaglia.

 

Here is a link to the scientific article.