If it wasn’t so tragic, it could be a fun story.
Fish faeces are important in climate regulation. This comes as no surprise to climate scientists, geologists and oceanographers alike – we’ve known for a long time that dead organisms and the faeces of live ones are exporting carbon into the deep sea, where it is stored and eventually (in geological time scales) becomes sedimentary rock.
The new element of this story, reported by Katarina Zimmer in The Scientist this week, is that our appetite for overfishing has diminished the export of carbon from the surface ocean to the sediment, and with it, weakened the climate regulation capacity of fish poop.
Not only that, it has also impacted on the food web in the deep sea.
When will we ever learn???