Wood: Is It What's For Dinner?
Original story at Experiment• 0 mentions • 1 week ago
Experiment 1 week ago
88% Funded $4,000 Goal 8 days left Wooden carcasses, former trees and ships, bring a rare commodity to the deep sea devoid of light and plants—food. Little is known about these ephemeral wood falls, the unique faunas on them, or the basics of their food web. By examining chemical fingerprints we can determine what each animal eats and whether it is predator or prey. This will yield a richer understanding of how land and oceans are linked in the global carbon cycle. What is the significance of this project? Wood represents a significant source of carbon input into the deep oceans and ties oceans and land together in the carbon cycle. Wood has been found frequently on the deep-sea floor several miles deep and several miles from land. During major storms that drive erosion and move debris down river, the movement of wood into the oceans can be sizable. During the Typhoon Morakot in 2009, the total amount wood weight carried to the oceans was estimated to be the equivalent weight of ~850,000 school buses. On the deep-sea floor, a single wood fall can enrich the carbon of the sediment by >25% even after several years. This represents a major pathway of natural carbon sequestration that has received little attention. We know very little of the fate of this wood based carbon after it arrives to the seafloor.But this forest to deep ocean carbon pathway may be changing owing due to deforestation and increasing river discharge. From 2000 to 2005, 7.3 million hectares of forest per year were lost. In most of insular Southeast Asia, the forest cover decrease exceeds 50% and is well over 80% in New Guinea. Across Mexico, only 27% of the original forest cover remained intact by 1990. In addition, global warming is driving greater transport of atmospheric moisture in certain areas leading to increasing river flows. From 1936-1999 annual discharge