Sperm whales in the Southern Ocean release 220,462 tons of carbon when they exhale carbon dioxide at the water's surface, but their poo stimulates the drawdown of 440,925 tons of carbon, according to the research, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
These ocean giants and certain other marine mammals may therefore be among the most environmentally beneficial animals on the planet.
"If Southern Ocean sperm whales were at their historic levels, meaning their population size before whaling, we would have an extra 2 million tons (2,204,623 tons) of carbon being removed from our atmosphere each and every year," lead author Trisha Lavery Told Discovery News.
Lavery, a marine biologist at Flinders University of South Australia, and her colleagues explained how the cleaning process works.
You can read all about it at Discovery News. Link -via Digg
(Image credit: Flickr user Erwin Winkelman)