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Connecting the Land and Sea

Terrestrial plants account for the vast majority of life on land, and their contribution to life in the sea might be larger than you think.

A new review study by an international group of authors, including Ocean Genome Legacy Director and Research Professor Dan Distel, explains how and why land plants also make large and distinctive contributions to life in the sea.

For instance, large amounts of dead and decaying plant matter enter the sea, which brings energy rich lignocelluose found in plants to the ocean where it can be used as an energy source. The study, published in the journal Annual Review of Marine Science highlights how inputs of plant matter from land have generally been overlooked in models of global carbon cycling.

Therefore, Distel and his collaborators hope to bring attention to the importance of these ocean-land connections in order to improve our understanding of marine carbon fluxes and sinks, and how they will be impacted by human activities.

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