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Contact: Joshua Brown
University of Vermont

Whale Pump Graphic

Caption: Huge blue whales plunge to 500 feet or deeper and feed on tiny krill. Then they return to the surface—and poop. This 'whale pump' provides many nutrients, in the form of feces, to support plankton growth. It's one of many examples of how whales maintain the health of oceans described in a new scientific paper by the University of Vermont's Joe Roman and nine other whale biologists from around the globe.

Credit: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

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Related news release: Whales as ecosystem engineers

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