In fact pooping, vomiting, sneezing and sweating are a few of the ways animals remove toxic chemicals/substances from the body, so you could say that pooping plays a crucial role in the healthy survival of whales, dolphins and porpoises because if they were unable to release these unhealthy/toxic materials from their body they would likely become sick and die.
Unlike humans, land animals, marine mammals and other aquatic animals plants do not poop; instead they absorb light from the sun and bacteria and water from the earth in order to survive and release oxygen from their body.
Trees and plants not only create oxygen but act as a filter for harmful pollutants that can harm us as well as the whale species.
As we’ll see later in the article whale poop plays a crucial role in the growth of phytoplankton (a plant that helps trap carbon dioxide) and how the whaling era has caused a significant reduction in available whale poop.
When it comes to whales and other animals consuming various types of food provides the body with essential nutrients that help keep these animals healthy, energized, running efficiently and most importantly alive.
The healthy and nutritious parts of the foods they consume get broken down by digestive enzymes in the stomach, then get sorted out and absorbed into different parts of the body based on where it’s needed, how it affects the body and what parts of the body can use it for energy, muscle, bone, organ and skin repair.
The non nutrient or toxic parts of the food get removed from the body through a biological process that breaks down the toxic/non nutrient parts and sends it to the gastrointestinal tract for disposal where it ends up coming out as poop.
In most cases the waste often ends up being removed or excreted from the body through the anal tract, however undigested food that has trouble making its way to the stomach may be removed from the body through vomiting.
When a whale releases its excrement the whales poop comes out as an almost liquid form of fecal matter (often in a plume-like cloud) and is light enough that it does not sink to the bottom sea but floats across the top of the ocean; in some cases the excrement may also come out in chunks rather than a plume-like cloud.
According to our understanding of how whales go to the bathroom if a whale needs to poop it has to travel to or near the surface of the water to relieve itself because when a whale takes a dive it shuts down its none crucial biological functions so that it can focus on other activities.
One of these non crucial functions is the ability to poop which explains why whales appear to only poop at or near the surface of the water, not when they are hundreds or thousands of feet down.
Since whales must come to the surface for oxygen they are likely to visit the surface frequently enough to relieve themselves whenever they need to.
As stated earlier researchers and marine biologists have found that a whales poop is extremely earth-friendly and necessary for a healthy environment.
In fact sperm whale poop has been proven to be very important for the ecosystem and various forms of marine life such as phytoplankton that rely on the sperm whales poop for food.
Note: While this study uses the sperm whale as its basis it’s likely that whale poop from other species also contribute to a healthy ocean biodiversity.
The nutrient rich fecal matter feeds phytoplankton (plants) which allow the plant to grow and prosper.
As the phytoplankton grows it pulls more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere cleaning up the environment and creating a healthier ecosystem for both land and oceanic animals.
The carbon that gets pulled from the environment stays trapped inside the phytoplankton for as long as it lives which could be for several millennium.
While whale poop has been shown to be extremely useful for maintaining our clean air and atmosphere previous human involvement has largely decreased the number of whales that inhibit our ocean today.
An unfortunate side effect caused by the whaling industry, in addition to all of the whales that have unfortunately been killed during the whaling era, is a huge loss in nutrient rich whale fecal matter to feed the phytoplankton which in turn help remove poisonous carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Assuming the whaling era didn’t exist we may have seen a huge increase in healthy air as well as a more stabilized biodiversity in the oceans atmosphere.
The large decrease in available whale poop, which as we stated earlier feeds phytoplankton, has led some researchers and marine biologists to debate growing concerns regarding the effect this is having on the reduction of clean oxygen in our environment, global warming and other important factors that contribute to our health as well as the health of mother nature.
Sadly not only has the whaling era harmed our ecosystem, it also caused a number of whale species to become endangered due to excessive hunting.
Part of what sparked the growth of the whaling era was the increasing need for whale oil, meat and bone due to advancements in technology and industry during the industrial age.
With improved technology during the 21st century the link between increased pollution and decreased whale populations is just now starting to be understood.
Today the act of whaling is now prohibited and illegal in a number of countries and steps are being taken to try and help these marine mammals rebuild their population, but only time will tell if these efforts are enough to improve the endangered species status and our ecosystem.