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New study finds ocean biomass in excess of 10 trillion tons

The estimated biomass of the world’s oceans has increased a thousand-fold due to new research from an around the world cruise led by Carlos Duarte and colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council that was published in the Feb. 7, 2014, edition of the journal Nature Communications.

This image shows a fish captured during Malaspina Expedition circumnavigation between Auckland and Honolulu.
CSIC / Joan Costa

The researchers examined the numbers of mesopelagic fish in the world’s oceans between 40 degrees north latitude and 40 degrees south latitude at depths between 200 and 1,000 meters. The scientists circumnavigated the globe and found new hope for fish and men.

Mesopelagic fish are important as a food source for other fish. These types of fish comprise the largest number of animals in the ocean and serve as a measure of the volume of total sea life existing in the world’s oceans at a given time.

Because they repeatedly move up and down in a regular pattern between 200 meters and 1,000 meters of depth, mesopelagic fish are an important mover of organic matter from the ocean to the ocean floor. The fish behave in this distinctive manner to avoid predators.

This behavior reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that could be available to produce global warming. The researchers estimate that as much as 10 percent of the carbon containing material that could produce carbon dioxide is consumed or moved to the ocean depths by mesopelagic fish.

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