Microbes hold the keys to ocean health

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In Australia, scientists recorded more than 175,000 tiny microbes dwelling in our ocean waters for the first time, providing an unprecedented baseline against which to measure the effects of climate change and human activities. Invisible to the naked eye, microbes constitute almost 98 percent of the ocean’s biomass.

University of Newcastle’s Dr Mark Brown said, “Similar to the links between human health and the human microbiome, ocean health is largely controlled by its microbial inhabitants.  Forming the foundation of the entire ecosystem, microbes provide food for all other marine life and produce half the oxygen we breathe.”

“In this regard, they function in a similar way to organs in a human body. Some microbes act as the lungs of the ocean responsible for gathering and distributing oxygen to the planet, while others act as the gut or liver to detoxify impurities within the water and control the flow of nutrients.”