Ocean viruses could help reduce climate change, study finds – The Hill

Ocean viruses could help reduce climate change, study finds – The Hill

The story at a glance


  • Researchers at Ohio State University say plankton carrying a type of virus could help scientists learn how to manage CO2 emissions.

  • CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels for transportation or electricity.

  • CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels for transportation or electricity.

Studying virus-carrying plankton could help fight climate change, researchers at Ohio State University say.

The study published earlier this month in Science examines how there are 5,500 species of marine RNA viruses, several of which can drive carbon absorbed from the atmosphere to permanent storage on the ocean floor.

The study’s authors argue that a few of these species have genes “stolen” from the marine life they have infected, which can help researchers identify their hosts and their “functions in marine processes.”

One of the study’s lead authors, Matthew Sullivan, a microbiology professor at Ohio State University, told The Lantern that plankton could play a key role in determining what happens to carbon dioxide. , a potent greenhouse gas.

Carbon dioxide is generated by burning fossil fuels for transportation and electricity and accounted for nearly 80% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2020, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Much of the CO2 is actually absorbed by the ocean, with a NASA study claiming that 40% of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions are absorbed in the Southern Ocean.


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Posted on June 23, 2022

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