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Iron fertilization in ocean nourishes toxic algae

Carbon sequestration efforts could trigger harmful algal blooms

A plan to combat global warming by fertilizing the ocean may backfire by triggering toxic algal blooms, a new study suggests.

Scientists have known for decades that dumping iron in the ocean, especially in areas where that nutrient is in short supply, stimulates the growth of algae and other phytoplankton. These tiny organisms pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, prompting research on the potential of iron fertilization to pull the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and scuttle it in the deep sea as sunken algae.

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