Report

Giant Larvacean Houses: Rapid Carbon Transport to the Deep Sea Floor

Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1609-1611
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109104

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Abstract

An unresolved issue in ocean science is the discrepancy between the food requirements of the animals living on the deep sea floor and their food supply, as measured by sediment traps. A 10-year time-series study of the water column off Monterey Bay, California, revealed that the discarded mucus feeding structures of giant larvaceans carry a substantial portion of the upper ocean's productivity to the deep seabed. These abundant, rapidly sinking, carbon-rich vectors are not detected by conventional sampling methods and thus have not been included in calculations of vertical nutrient flux or in oceanic carbon budgets.

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