Animals

Strength in Numbers: Tiny Sea Creatures Could Create Big Ocean Currents

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

These tiny sea creatures may have a not-so-tiny effect on the ocean. While it is believed that wind and tidal currents are the primary causes of the mixing of ocean waters, scientists at Stanford University discovered zooplankton can also have this effect. Organisms like krill and brine shrimp swim hundreds of metres up to the surface in groups of billions. These enormous swarms could create powerful currents in the ocean.

Previously, scientists believed that zooplankton could only affect the water in their own size range. But the krill in this tank show that, as a group, they can create powerful turbulence. Scientists hope to conduct these studies in the ocean, and the findings could shed light on how animals can influence our climate on land.

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