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How Whales Help The Ocean Breathe

Peter van der Sluijs, Wikicommons
A blue whale in Sri Lanka.

A new analysis finds that each great whale in the ocean is worth $2 million. Not only because they are the source of tourism revenue, but because they are an important part of enabling the ocean to produce more food and store more carbon.

As they swim around the ocean eating food--and then relieving themselves--they move nutrients.

When they die, they take those nutrients and all the carbon they’ve amassed over a lifetime to the bottom of the ocean.

Blue whales are the largest of all the whales, growing up to 100 feet long and weighing close to 200 tons.

Living Lab Radio spoke to Asha de Vos, the Founding Executive Director of Oceanswell, about her work studying a unique population of blue whales – the blue whales of Sri Lanka.

De Vos is also an Ocean Conservation Fellow at the New England Aquarium.

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Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.