The fish on your table may have feasted on organic material thousands of year old! Surprise or disbelief, these may be one of the reactions that a comment like this would garner.
The fact, however is that this could be quite true. With glaciers melting and contributing to water sheds, more and more organic matter from the past is becoming a part of the marine buffet table.
Recent research done by four different universities along with the U.S. Forest Service has confirmed this in the December 2009 issue of the science journal Nature.
The scientists compared water samples from watersheds which had no glacier melt, those which had partial glacier melt and those which were composed completely of glacier melt.
Samples from 11 watersheds were compared.The scientists discovered a positive correlation between the amount of carbon available and the amount of glacier in the watershed.
It was also discovered that the age of organic matter was older depending on the proportion of glacier coverage.
This interesting discovery along with its effects on the food web in one of the most productive fishing areas in the world like the Gulf of Alaska starting from Juneau up to the Kenai Peninsula, will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Source : Science