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How salps jellyfish save earth ?

We are all aware scientists keep on expressing much concerns on the bad effects of global warming. It’s man made by altering the rhythm of greenhouse effect.  This natural effect is an essential environmental prerequisite for life on Earth.

What is Greenhouse Effect?

Life on earth depends on energy from the sun. About 30 percent of the sunlight that beams toward Earth is deflected by the outer atmosphere and scattered back into space. The rest reaches the planet’s surface and is reflected upward again as a type of slow-moving energy called infrared radiation.

The heat caused by infrared radiation is absorbed by “greenhouse gases” such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane, which slows its escape from the atmosphere.

Although greenhouse gases make up only about 1 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, they regulate our climate by trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm-air blanket that surrounds the planet.

This phenomenon is what scientists call the “greenhouse effect.” Without it, scientists estimate that the average temperature on Earth would be colder by approximately 30 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), far too cold to sustain our current ecosystem.

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Natural Greenhouse Effect and influence of mankind

How the rhythm of natural greenhouse effect is changed?

The problems begin when human activities distort and accelerate the natural process by creating more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by burning natural gas, coal and oil that raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Unwanted Industrial gases emission, and deforestation contribute more greenhouse gases.

Ultimately, more greenhouse gases means more infrared radiation trapped and held, which gradually increases the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the air in the lower atmosphere.

Scientists agree that even a small increase in the global temperature would lead to significant climate and weather changes, affecting cloud cover, precipitation, wind patterns, the frequency and severity of storms, and the duration of seasons.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions are the Biggest Problem:

Currently, carbon dioxide accounts for more than 60 percent of the enhanced greenhouse effect caused by the increase of greenhouse gases, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing by more than 10 percent every 20 years.

Here comes the Savior:  Salp  jelly fish

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Salp Jellyfish in chain

While mankind is least bothered about the increase of carbon-dioxide, according to scientists a jellyfish known as salps, about the size of a human thumb, swarming by the billions may be transporting tons of carbon per day from the ocean surface to the deep sea.

The oceans absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in many ways. One of the main  sources that absorb Carbon-di-oxide from the atmosphere is marine plants as they consume this gas and store it in their body parts. In turn, Salps eat these marine plants.

Salps are semi-transparent, barrel-shaped marine animals that move through the water by drawing water in the front end and propelling it out the rear in a sort of jet propulsion. The water passes over a mucus membrane that vacuums it clean of all edible material. Salps swim, feed, and produce waste continuously, scientists say. They take in small packages of carbon and make them into big packages that sink fast.

Biologists Laurence Madin of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Patricia Kremer of the University of Connecticut and colleagues have conducted four summer expeditions to the Mid-Atlantic Bight region, between Cape Hatteras and Georges Bank in the North Atlantic, since 1975. Each time the researchers found that one particular salp species, Salpa aspera, multiplied into dense swarms that lasted for months.

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Solitary form of salp jellyfish

Each species consist of two forms. the solitary and the aggregate. The solitary form as the name indicates lives on its own, whereas aggregate forms lives in chains consisting of 100–150 members. They can form large swarms consisting of thousands of individuals.

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swarm of salp jellyfish

One swarm covered 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles) of the sea surface. The scientists estimated that the swarm consumed up to 74 percent of microscopic carbon-containing plants from the surface water per day, and their sinking fecal pellets transported up to 4,000 tons of carbon a day to deep water. The scientists also showed that when salps die, their bodies also sink fast in to the deep sea with considerable amount of carbon.

Salpa aspera swims long distances down in daylight and back up at night in what is known as vertical migration. Salps stay at depths of 600 to 800 meters (1,970 to 2,625 feet) during the day, coming to the surface only at night.

At the surface, salps can feed on phytoplankton a carbon rich marine plant. Then, salps release fecal pellets in deep water. This enhances the transport of carbon into the deep sea from the atmosphere.

It goes without saying, this tiny marine life teaches mankind how to keep the earth safe. Yet we don’t realise and keep on convening Summit Meetings on global warming that are seldom useful.

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