Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

New ocean creature that could help climate change

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

New ocean creature that could help climate change


Scientists have discovered a new ocean creature that could help against climate change

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Funky café ‘with a purpose’ connects community

A humble café has been transformed into a funky food, coffee and art destination as part of an inspiring community project. A number of local More

Centre of attention: $129m two-tower project for CBD

A new dual towers project has attracted strong interest from prospective buyers as the Maroochydore CBD gathers momentum. Construction has started on Habitat Development Group’s More

Sami: lettuce pray this crisis is addressed soon

The so-called Devil’s lettuce (not kale, that is Satan’s salad) is now cheaper per gram than God’s lettuce. Okay, lettuce go to the big topic More

Rise of the nanny: why parents are opting for in-home help

They cook, they clean and, most importantly, they care for and educate children. It’s no wonder Sunshine Coast parents are turning to nannies for help More

‘Stand Up!’ It’s time for a vital celebration of culture

A range of events will be held around the region to celebrate NAIDOC Week, amid a call for justice, equity and recognition of First Nations More

How residents can help draft fix for housing crunch

Noosa community members have been urged to express their views to help address the housing crisis that has gripped the region. Noosa Council is seeking More

A single-celled ocean microbe, capable of hunting and eating prey, could also be a biological tool used to try and limit the effects of climate change.

The newly-discovered species has the ability to sequester carbon and will survive even as oceans become warmer and more acidic, researchers from the University of Technology Sydney said of their findings, published on Monday in the Nature Communications journal.

The marine microbe, which is abundant in oceans all over the world, undergoes a process of photosynthesis before it releases a carbon-rich exopolymer that attracts and immobilises other microbes.

It will then eat some of its prey trapped in this exopolymer “mucosphere”, before it falls to the sea floor to become part of ocean’s carbon pump, thus taking carbon from the atmosphere.

Lead researcher and marine biologist Michaela Larsson said the study was the first to demonstrate this kind of behaviour for a microbe.

She said in many ways the microbe was similar to a venus flytrap – able to photsynthesise but also capable of gaining an extra hit of nutrients by eating prey.

She said this characteristic means the microbes can live in parts of the sea otherwise not habitable for animals like phytoplankton.

Stay up-to-date with local stories by subscribing to our FREE daily news feed: Go to SUBSCRIBE at top of this article to register

The findings have global significance for how the ocean can be used to balance carbon in the atmosphere, Professor Martina Dobin, a senior author of the study said.

While the contribution animals like phytoplankton made to the world’s carbon pump was well-known, the role of microbes was previously far less well-understood, Dr Larsson said.

The microbes in the ocean affect the “oceanic biogeochemistry” of the water by sequestering carbon in the water — a process that has some effect on the world’s climate.

Researchers estimate the species of microbe which lives off the coast of Sydney could sink 0.02-0.15 gigatons of carbon per annum into the carbon sink.

To put that into context, the 2019 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report found that to meet climate goals, CO2 removal technologies and strategies will need to remove approximately 10 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year until 2050.