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Researchers Test Ocean Algae to Fight Greenhouse Effect

October 12, 2000

A preliminary experiment suggests that "fertilizing" the southern oceans to enhance algae growth could reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, tempering the greenhouse effect, researchers report in today's Nature. Growing algae would remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, when the plants die, send it to the ocean floor. But the algae need added iron to grow.

A team from the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research added 19,000 pounds of an iron-containing compound to a patch of the ocean and found that it led to a sharp increase in algal growth and localized removal of carbon dioxide from the air.

--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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