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Green Glow of Life

Green Glow of Life

One suggested way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to pump it into the deep ocean, where proponents believe it would remain as a slurry-like hydrate. WHOI geobiologist Joan Bernhard and colleagues at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute tested whether high CO2 concentrations would harm single-celled sediment-dwelling organisms called foraminifera. They found that all the foraminifera with calcareous shells died, while organisms without shells maintained favorable survival rates--as indicated by their green tint in the floursecent optics images in the lower panel. Bernhard and her co-authors report their work suggests that if lots of CO2 is pumped to the deep sea floor, the shelled foraminifera "will face considerable challenges," and "survival of two major [non-shelled] groups of this prevalent protistan taxon will likely not be severely impacted."

(Photo courtesy of Joan Bernhard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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