Fish poop contains a magical component that helps balance the pH of the oceans, researchers recently announced in the journal Science. Until recently, scientists thought that most calcium carbonate, which makes seawater alkaline, came from the skeletons of plankton. This new study estimated that between three and 15% of the ocean's calcium carbonate is created in a fish's intestines and then excreted.
Why is this important? Calcium carbonate is a chalky substance that is important in regulating the acid/alkaline balance of the oceans and the ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). It is also important for the health of coral reefs. The researchers think that the fish will produce even more calcium carbonate with rising sea temperatures and increased CO2, which could have important implications for the problem of ocean acidification and its devastating effects.