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No. 32: Mar-Apr 1984

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Animals As Nutrient Carriers

"It has long been recognized that the movement of grazing animals from one terrestrial ecosystem to another, feeding in one and defaecating in the other, may result in significant movement of certain [chemical] elements between them (i.e. the ecosystems). What has now been made evident, in work on the coral reefs of the Virgin Islands, is that a similar process takes place in aquatic ecosystems."

Several examples, terrestrial and aquatic, follow this introductory paragraph of the referenced article.

(Moore, Peter D.; "Animals As Nutrient Carriers," Nature, 305:763, 1983.)

Comment. This process may emphasize the fine-tuning of the Gaia Hypothesis, in which life-as-a-whole operates in ways that make the planet-as-a-whole more productive of life.

From Science Frontiers #32, MAR-APR 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss