Sea Snot Increases with Warming – Benefits Sea Life

November 29, 2013 / No Comments

Al Gore is widely known for his statement “The earth has a fever.” If that is true, the earth probably has the common cold, as its snot production increases. We are speaking of “sea snot” which abounds in the ocean.

Sea snot in Gulf of Mexico Sea Snot Increases with Warming – Benefits Sea Life

Sea snot in Gulf of Mexico

Sea snot is drifting down to the bottom of the ocean and the creatures that live there feed on this snot. The more snot, the greater the proliferation of sea life that feeds on it. It also appears that warming of the sea creates more snot.

sea salp 3 Sea Snot Increases with Warming – Benefits Sea Life

Sea Salp

You might ask: What is sea snot and how is it created? We can tell you and it is a very interesting process. As the sea surface temperature warms up, algae and phytoplankton gather at the surface and create the oxygen we breathe through photosynthesis. They multiply and create even more oxygen.

Sea Salp

Sea Salp

They also attract their nemesis, the sea salp. The sea salp is a creature that loves to feed on this bountiful green food source. Well-fed sea salps tend to multiply as they gorge themselves on the algae and plankton.  The surface of the water looks like it has a whole bunch of snot floating on it.

sea salp

Nothing lasts forever. The algae and phytoplankton eventually get eaten, the sea salps die and fall to the bottom of the ocean. Once there, other sea creatures gobble up this bountiful food. They, in turn, are fruitful and multiply.

Salp Chain

National Geographic has discovered that “warmer oceans may encourage the growth of more phytoplankton. The scientists observed the largest spikes in deep-sea productivity in 2011 and 2012, corresponding with massive phytoplankton blooms.”

Christine Huffard, a marine biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium also believes the snot blooms may also be a part of an environmental cycle yet to be discovered. Whatever the cause, those critters on the bottom of the ocean are very grateful.