I just read a very interesting press release describing a new study conducted at the University of Vermont that was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this study researchers demonstrated that the excrement of large land animals and whales plays a major role in maintaining the fertility of the planet. This is because their feces helps to transport nutrients across the ocean as well as on land. Therefore, the decline in numbers of large marine mammals may dramatically affect the recycling of nutrients and thus the ecosystem. In fact, their calculations suggest that the capacity for animals to transport nutrients away from so-called hotspots is currently just 8% of what it was at the end of the most recent ice age when 150 large mammalian species went extinct. Phosphorous transport from the ocean to land has also dropped over 75% because of recent losses in large marine mammals, such as whales.
Maybe that explains why my vegetable garden will not grow…
University of Vermont