whales in water

Ocean Insights

Why is poop so important for the planet?

Some scientists call it the “Poop Loop” (we dare you to say that with a straight face), while others refer to it as the “Whale Pump.” Whatever you choose to call the magic cycle that keeps our ocean and global climate balanced, it all boils down to the extraordinary power of whale feces. When whales relieve themselves, their nutrient-dense feces feed phytoplankton, which plays a crucial role in capturing carbon and mitigating climate change.

The colorful world of phytoplankton encompasses a host of bacteria, algae, and certain single-celled organisms that are all capable of converting sunlight into food–a process we all know as photosynthesis. These sun-loving little organisms reside near the ocean’s surface and possess the extraordinary ability to capture an estimated 25-40% of global carbon each year, maintaining climate balance. They also generate a staggering 50% to 80% of Earth’s oxygen, supporting wildlife and people around the globe.

None of these vital ecological and climatic services would be possible without the help of whale poop, which sustains phytoplankton across the ocean. So take a deep breath of oxygen-rich air and thank the whales by supporting whale conservation groups such as Whale Guardians and Global Whale Conservancy. Together we can help create safe spaces for whales to thrive and keep our planet healthy.

Join the Tide to support our partners, Whale Guardians and the Global Whale Conservancy.