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Churning the numbers

Motion of ocean’s small swimmers may be important for climate modeling

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3:11pm, July 29, 2009

To view video of a jellyfish and the water that flows around it as it swims, click here.

Small ocean dwellers like krill don’t idly go with the flow. In fact, the water around such animals flows with their go, new research has found, suggesting tiny swimmers may have a big impact on ocean mixing.

Energy put into the oceans by small animals is a significant component of the total contributed by all swimming creatures, adding up to a force comparable to that of winds and tides, scientists report in the July 30 Nature. The research suggests that scientists modeling global climate processes may need to add the contribution of such swimmers to the mix.

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