Monday, October 09, 2006

Giant Balls of 'Snot' Explain Ocean Mystery

Honestly, how could I have missed this story last year?
"Scientists have discovered giant sinking mucus 'houses' that double the amount of food on the sea floor.

The mucus houses, or 'sinkers,' are produced by tadpole-like animals not much bigger than your index finger. As sinkers drop to the sea floor, small sea critters and other food particles get stuck to the mucus and end up on the bottom of the ocean."
[ . . . ]
The animals responsible for making sinkers are called giant larvaceans. They spin a mucus web, about a yard in diameter. They sit in the middle of the house and use it to filter food that is small enough for them to eat. "Larger particles get stuck to the outside of these filters, and after some amount of time the filters get plugged and the animal moves out," Sherlock said. "The house deflates and begins to sink, picking up more particles. It’s a fast-sinking carbon bomb."
{ . . . }
"A sinker is basically snot," Sherlock said.


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