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Do Whale Falls Make Marine Ecosystems Better

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People often think death means sadness and desperation, but do you know death also means contribution and splendid? Whale Fall is a good example of a response to this sentence. Whale fall is a pretty word to describe the death of a whale. Their carcasses — known as whale falls — become an energy-rich habitat, drawing a wide variety of organisms from across the deep sea to feast. A whale died and sank to the deep water(over 1000 meters), often land on the seabed, many organisms will break down the carcass and the carcass will become a very complicated ecosystem.

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I will argue that whale fall is good for the marine ecosystem and have a positive meaning for us because its carcass will become the food of other lives. First of all, I will explain the positive influence that whale fall makes and the process of whale fall. Secondly, I will state a positive meaning of whale fall to humans. Finally, I will give a conclusion.

Whale Fall will make a positive influence on marine lives. Firstly, Whale Fall offers lots of food for marine lives. at the first stage, many large marine species such as sharks and rattails will eat most of the whale carcass. Within days, active scavengers, converge on the new food source and voraciously remove the flesh from the bones (Smith has estimated consumption rates of 40 to 60 kilograms of flesh per day). In many cases, the whale is stripped to the bone in a matter of months. In the deep sea, there is a little amount of food and every creature in there is hungry all year round. A whale carcass is an important source of food for deep-sea lives. After a big meal like this, that is enough for their food intake for a year, which means over the next year, they are no need to eat anything. At the second stage, plenty of smaller marine lives fed on a whale carcass. Smaller organisms comb the surrounding sediment for decomposing tissue. These species such as worms and mollusks live around the whale carcass, they live on some small residues of the whale. This stage can feed a big amount of these species. There are also many kinds of microorganisms and take a part in breaking down whale carcass. So, the food chains are formed and energy has flowed-microorganisms will be eaten by small marine animals, and small animals will attract bigger marine animals, those which are smaller will be eaten by bigger lives. All of this is based on whale fall. Secondly, whale fall offers heat energy to marine lives. there are some kinds of microorganisms such as bacteria and worms, these kinds of species can break down the fat and oil in on the whale bones and convert it into a specific kind of gas called hydrogen sulfide. For example, a kind of worms tunnel into the bones by injecting acid and so, reach the tiny amounts of fat that still remind there. In the deep sea level, the temperature is too low. Late-stage whale-fall communities resemble communities at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. The area which reacts to these reactions can form much underwater hot spring. Microbes live off of the energy released from these chemical reactions and form the basis of ecosystems for as long as the food source lasts(NOAA, 2019). There will be many species live there because of the high temperature of the water around the spring. Finally, at the end of the whale fall, whale bones become coral reefs. There will be more species of marine animals live there. So, there will be more food chains and energy flows and the whole marine ecosystem will become much more stable. Therefore, whale fall is good for the marine ecosystem.

I will state the relationship between whale fall and humans. Firstly, many different marine organisms eat the corpse of the whale. With the decomposition of the body, some new materials are created. So deal with the number of new materials increasing, new species are created. Oceanographers have reported at least 16 new species in whale falls.For example, a new species called “zombie worms”.According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the species was discovered feasting on a rotting gray whale carcass in 2002. It means that humans can record more species on the human gene pool. Maybe they can also put the new species to the study of medical science so that it is helpful for the development of human civilization. Secondly, researchers can get a lot of information according to the study of the whale fall. MBARI is using genetic and molecular tools to understand the evolutionary patterns among whale-fall communities, and to determine relationships between animals at whale falls, seeps, and hydrothermal vents. They also find that thirty-million-year-old assemblages of fossil clams and whale bones suggest that whale-fall communities have been around at least as long as whales themselves. That information shows that the whale fall is beneficial to the study of the ocean environment. 

The poem about the whale fall says that on March 23, 2016:13 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) beached themselves off the shallow coast at Tonning, Germany: “We may never know the exact cause,” wrote Danny Groves. Stomach contents: 43 feet of fishing net, 100 plastic bags, golf balls, sweatpants, greenhouse glass sheeting, cigarette butts, hypodermic needles, a plastic car engine cover, a bucket.This is a whale which died on the beach. If a whale-like this dies in the ocean, a large amount of garbage is scattered in the sea or eaten by the animals. The garbage may needs much to be degraded. Then if they are eaten by fishes and people eat this fishes, it is a huge hurt for the health of people. In other words, the pollution that people cause to the ocean could come back to the people’s side. So we should do something to stop the error loop. All in all, whale fall is of great significance to human beings. It has influenced our exploration of oceans and biology. But human pollution has made the original good effects of whale landings less and less and is hurting themselves.

We comprehensively introduced and analyzed the whale fall. Besides, we mentioned the connection between humans and whale fall. Including stages of breaking down a dead whale and given its benefits to the marine ecosystem and human life as well. Also, we hope more people will focus on the ocean. It is not only mysterious and attractive but also relevant to our lives.             

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