The Wastes Of Whales Generate Nutrients For Ocean-Dwelling Animals

First Posted: Jul 01, 2016 04:46 AM EDT

Whales, which are considered to be the largest animals, are the biggest contributors of the ocean's chemical components. These include the quantities of waste and urine they produce that are beneficial for the ocean and other marine creatures.

The quantity of urine that a whale expels each day is impressive, too. Joe Roman, a conservation biologist at the University of Vermont and studies the marine mammals stated that it's not easy to measure how much a whale excretes in a day. He further explained that the researchers can measure the quantities of whale waste by looking at figures from other large marine animals like dolphins and seals, which are kept in captivity. On the other hand, it only provides a general idea.

In a study that was printed in the Canadian Journal of Zoology in 2003, the sei whale, which is a baleen whale and the third largest baleen whale next to the blue whale and fin whale, has an approximated urine production of 166 gallons (627 liters). This whale has a length of 60 feet (18 meters) and weighs up to 100,000 lbs. (45,000 kilograms).

Meanwhile, a fin whale, which is also known as finback whale can grow up to 27.3 meters (89.6 ft.) long and weighs about 74 tons. It has a long, beautiful and slender body with colored brownish-grey and paler underside. It produces about 257 gallons (974 liters) of urine in one day.

Regarding the whale feces, Roman explained that the whale poop is easier to spot in the water and simpler to sample. He described it as having a distinctive color and a strong smell. He further explained that it is energetically expensive to dive. He added that they shut down a lot of their internal organs when they dive, to become feeding machines. When the whales come to the surface, this is the time they digest and release urine and feces. These become nutritious feeds for many marine animals. They also provide phosphorous, nitrogen and iron.

Roman further explained that their research shows that you can have more whales and more fish. This is because the whales are releasing nutrients that sustain them. He said that having numerous marine mammals will make a more productive ocean and a more resilient ocean. The whale's waste is being put to good use as reported by Live Science.

According to U.S. Geological Survey, the volume of water that makes up the ocean is about 321 million cubic miles (1.3 billion cubic kilometers). Though it's difficult to compute how much whale pee is produced, there is no need to worry because it may probably just a drop in the bucket compared to the volume of water in the ocean.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics