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Are hungry swarms of tiny krill behind ocean mixing?

Engineers are investigating the impact of krill swarms on ocean mixing, and possibly global climate.

Scientists have long chalked up ocean mixing of salt, heat, nutrients, and gases—such as oxygen and carbon dioxide—to wind and tides. The new research is investigating whether krill are another possible contributor.

Mixing ocean water may seem like a big job for such a tiny creature, but krill are a force of nature when they migrate in giant swarms to feed at night.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Stanford University engineer John Dabiri and his team are using lab experiments to understand the fluid dynamics of swarm migrations through a stratified water column.

If the vertical migrations of krill and other organisms are playing a significant role in ocean mixing, that should impact future calculations about ocean circulation and the global climate.

Source: National Science Foundation