Forests are the Earth’s saving grace, capable of absorbing vast amounts of carbon emissions and slowing down the overheating of our world. But did you know there are vast forests underwater that do the same thing?
Click start to play today’s Word Search, and spot all forms of marine life.
Blue carbon is the term scientists use for carbon captured by the world’s oceans and ecosystems. You may have spotted parts of this ecosystem washing up on the beach, in the form of seaweed. Sometimes called ‘sea vegetables’, kelp and other marine plants and algae grow on the ocean floor, forming a forest ecosystem that is essential in removing carbon from the atmosphere.
In 2016, research published in the UK-based journal Nature Geoscience found that existing macroalgae has the potential to trap up to 173 teragrams of carbon per year. That’s equivalent to the yearly emissions of 134 million cars or 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Seaweed, in particular, also reverses acidification and deoxygenation in the ocean.
But these macroalgae not just carbon trappers. According to the National Geographic website, in California, US, wild kelp forests shelter more than 800 species of marine life.
If cities begin to cultivate macroalgae, it could have an enormous impact on the fight against global warming and the fight to conserve marine species. A 2019 paper published in the US-based journal Current Biology, found that 48 million square kilometres of the ocean is suitable for seaweed cultivation. Researchers calculated that raising macroalgae in just 0.001 per cent of these waters worldwide and then burying it at sea could offset the entire carbon emissions of the global aquaculture industry. Aquaculture involves rearing marine animals or plants for food and it’s responsible for supplying half of the world’s seafood.