Baltic clams and worms release as much greenhouse gas as 20 000 dairy cows. Worms and clams enhance the release of methane up to eight times more compared to sea bottoms without animals, shows a study by scientists at Stockholm University and Cardiff University.
While greenhouse gas emissions are increasing to unprecedented levels, the source and sink mechanisms for these emissions are still not yet fully understood. Sea bottoms have been shown to be important contributors of the two strong greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Firstly to the water and finally to the atmosphere, where they cause global warming.
A study conducted by scientists from Stockholm University and Cardiff University suggests that worms and clams enhance the release of methane up to eight times more compared to sea bottoms without animals.
"It sounds funny but small animals in the seafloor may act like cows in a stable, both groups being important contributors of methane, due to the bacteria in their gut", says Dr. Stefano Bonaglia, the lead author of the study and post doc researcher at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University.
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Image source: Stockholm University