Although microbes that live in the so-called "dark ocean"-- below a depth of some 600 feet where light doesn't penetrate -- may not absorb enough carbon to curtail global warming, they do absorb considerable amounts of carbon and merit further
That is one of the findings of a paper published in the International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME) Journal by Tim Mattes, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, and his colleagues.
Mattes says that while many people are familiar with the concept of trees and grass absorbing carbon from the air, bacteria, and ancient single-celled organisms called "archaea" in the dark ocean hold between 300 million and 1.3 billion tons of carbon.
"A significant amount of carbon fixation occurs in the dark ocean," says Mattes. "What might make this surprising is that carbon fixation is typically linked to organisms using sunlight as the energy source."