Top Oceanographer: The methane may be in Atlantic Ocean, not eaten by bacteria

Teeny Janitors Attack Gulf Spill, Then Vanish, NPR, February 9, 2011:

NPR’s excellent Richard Harris found an oceanographer at Florida State University who says these ocean bugs don’t usually eat so fast. Maybe, just maybe, says Ian MacDonald, a big ocean current just swept through the Gulf and carried the methane off to the Atlantic Ocean?

Maybe. But maybe this is just plain old good news, and a summer-long disaster has just taught us a happy secret about Mother Nature: that when bad stuff happens, She still has little friends in low places who will clean up our messes. Thank you, methanotrophs.

Read the ‘report’ here.

Comments from the NPR website:

  • This is fascinating, but what happens if the methane eating microbes gum up the food web? it is like saying that algae eat industrial runoff… the flip side is that industrial runoff encourages massive blooms of algae that choke out everything else.
  • I’m curious, though, about what the methanotrophs produce. If they ate all that methane and used up some oxygen, what’s left behind when they die or give off waste?
  • Is this article a joke? I mean seriously….that illustration…, is this for 3rd graders? NPR’s articles are bordering on dangerous for people to actually read because they instantly register as complete BS seemingly addressing a mentally challenged audience. I’m trying to be nice.”

2 comments to Top Oceanographer: The methane may be in Atlantic Ocean, not eaten by bacteria

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