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Fertilizing the Open Ocean

Land stuff, at sea.
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/Any organism living in the open ocean will need a constant re-supply of the nutrients that make up its carcass./ / This flaw lies at the heart of every "make the oceans more productive" idea. The productivity of the open ocean is limited by gravity. — WcW, Feb 17 2011/

WcW had some good thinks in the linked strontium idea. They made me think too.

Fish congregate around floating logs. I saw one such log in the Birch Aquarium and saw this demonstrated on a nature show recently. Looking for tuna in this way is called "log fishing". The little fish love the log (its fun! its heavy! its wood!) and the tuna love the litte fish.

Why should little fish like the log, especially if it puts them at risk? I propose that they are doing what the tunas are doing: the little things they eat are in concentration around the log. The phytoplanktonic base of the food chain blooms because the nutrients they need leach off of the the log. Productivity is limited by gravity, and so open ocean critters have to hope for either a volcano, or stuff that floats. Or a bombing of the ocean floor, but that is a different idea.

Floating things oppose gravity. I propose that junk ships, shipping containers, junk cars etc be connected with nylon rope / chains, filled with plastic / organic trash and brought out to the pacific gyre to float. 1. Nutrients! Especially iron. 2. Long chains of large things (maybe anchored centrally) will sweep up plastic. 3. If one of these things sinks in the deep ocean, no harm no foul.

bungston, Feb 18 2011

Strontium for Nitrogen Fixation Use_20Marine_20Stro...nitrogen_20fixation
good ecosystem thoughts by WcW here. [bungston, Feb 18 2011]

Bomb the Ocean Floor Bomb_20the_20ocean_20floor
[bungston, Feb 18 2011]

Dead Zone Remediation Dead_20Zone_20Remediation
More ocean mod schemes. What is the ocean equivalent of "terraforming?" "Tethyforming?" [bungston, Mar 21 2012]

FAD - Fish aggregation device http://en.wikipedia..._Aggregation_Device
What the title says. It's not about nutrients, it's about stuff floating around. Also, you can make one of these yourself if you like. [Custardguts, Mar 21 2012]

baked http://en.wikipedia...cific_Garbage_Patch
[pashute, Jun 04 2012]


       I'm not entirely confident that any leeching nutrients has anything to do with it. You get bait balls and tuna under *any* object that floats around for long enough. Also, are you familiar with FAD's? That's Fish Attracting Devices (or fish aggregating devices). They're basically a tethered bouy, that fish then colonise. The upshot is - you get the fish aggregation, before you get any appreciable growths of coral, barnicle, etc that would make you think of a bottom-up ecosystem. It turns out baitfish just like structure. The wiki article makes out that fish are bored and like to look at things, but I suspect it's more about shelter.
Custardguts, Mar 21 2012

       Good old FAD 2, about a quarter mile off shore of Blacks Beach. They dumped a bunch of rocks there in forty feet of water in the 1970s. It's now a thriving reef, very fun place.   

       And while freediving - okay, while floating with a speargun, I've had schools of fish ball up around me - it's beautiful.
normzone, Mar 21 2012

       Counter idea, which isn't actually new at all.   

       Put lots of floating FAD's in the ocean. I've read (warning - unsubstantitated internet claim!!) suggestions that total ocean fish numbers would increase by increasing the "habitat" like this. Ie if you put hundreds of thousands of floating fish sanctuaries into the ocean, that ocean (without any other changes to nutrients, etc) would be able to support more fish life. It's not that the structures concentrate an existing limited population, but rather the population can grow with increased habitat available.   

       So, release lots and lots of free-floating buoys with trailing ropes/chains/whatever is optimal for the fishes and cheap into the ocean. Probably tether many of them near pressure points like edges of shelves, etc.   

       Increased ocean fish density.
Custardguts, Mar 21 2012

       This isn't 'fertilizing the ocean' so much as 'chucking a bunch of junk in the ocean'.
Alterother, Mar 21 2012

       We're humans - that's kind of our thing.
Custardguts, Mar 22 2012

       baked :-(   

       See link
pashute, Jun 04 2012


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