Photo by WDC

Whales are absolutely marvelous creatures, but did you know that they create essential impacts on the world around them? One of the big ways they contribute to the health of the oceans includes their behavior, more specifically, the production of their poop!

The poop produced by a whale is unlike many others. There is an abundance of nutrients within it and when it disperses, the plant-like organisms in the ocean are provided with the much needed nutrients.  The whale poop acts as a fertilizer and it contributes greatly to the cycling of carbon, global nutrients and the health of many ecosystems within the ocean – and beyond. 

Photo by WDC

As stated by NOAA Fisheries, “The whale poop gives nutrients to the plankton, which are microscopic organisms that then become food for smaller fish. These organisms are then eaten by seabirds which deposit their own poop on land or may feed larger migratory birds. The nutrients from this system also reach the rainforest and land if the animals that contain them are eaten by predators from the land, such as birds or cats. These ocean nutrients are important for massive biomes like the Amazon.” (2021).

Additionally, the excess release of carbon has become a global issue and whales play a huge role in minimizing this impact. Whales’ bodies act as a capturer of carbon atoms from the atmosphere and can contain approximately 33 tons of carbon dioxide. This is significantly more than the average tree which captures 48 pounds.

Graphic by WDC

Why is this relevant to you?

That’s a great question. These natural occurrences are keeping not just us alive but entire ecosystems! 

Whale poop is providing us with oxygen, fighting the negative impacts of climate change, and maintaining our levels of fish. Their poop is full of so much power, they are capable of fertilizing and feeding millions of phytoplankton on the surface of the sea which are key to providing the planet with about 50% of breathable air. 

Photo by WDC

Who knew whales could be so marvelous! Whales are vital to life on Earth and it should be important to us all to continue to vouch for them.

To learn more about the importance of whales and their poop, visit

Samantha Gallardo
Samantha Gallardo

She is currently a Conservation Intern at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. In addition, she is studying Environmental Studies and Biology at San Jose State University.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.