Perhaps it's time to stop blaming just cows for contributing to the methane—a greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere. A new study suggest that clams and marine worms should take the rap as well.
Scientists from Cardiff University and Stockholm University have discovered that Baltic clams and worms are responsible for about ten percent of the total methane emissions from the Baltic Sea. This is equivalent to the amount of methane given off by 20,000 dairy cows.
These marine animals emit large amounts of methane and nitrous oxides from the bacteria in their guts. The gases ascend through the water and eventually make their way into the atmosphere.
Co-author Dr Ernest Chi Fru, from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said, “What is puzzling is that the Baltic Sea makes up only about 0.1 percent of Earth's oceans, implying that globally, apparently harmless bivalve animals at the bottom of the world's oceans may in fact be contributing ridiculous amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that is unaccounted for.”
The study highlights the effect the many small bivalve animals at the bottom of the sea has on the global climate. Its findings hold significant implications for those companies involved in the farming of oysters, mussels and clams.