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Posted Sun Jan 10 2010: from National Oceanography Centre, Southampton via ScienceDaily:
Echinoderms Contribute to Global Carbon Sink; Impact of Marine Creatures Underestimated
The impact on levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere by the decaying remains of a group of marine creatures that includes starfish and sea urchin has been significantly underestimated. "Climate models must take this carbon sink into account," says Mario Lebrato, lead author of the study.... Calcifying organisms incorporate carbon directly from the seawater into their skeletons in the form of inorganic minerals such as calcium carbonate. This means that their bodies contain a substantial amount of inorganic carbon. When they die and sink, some of the inorganic carbon is remineralised, and much of it becomes buried in sediments, where it remains locked up indefinitely.... There is a worry that ocean acidification due to increased carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels could reduce the amount of calcium carbonate incorporated into the skeletons of echinoderms and other calcifying organisms.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, carbon sinks, ocean acidification]
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'Doc Michael says:
In other words, these carbon sinks... may be sunk!

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