Home | Aquariums and Fish in the News | Nitrous Oxide-Emitting Organisms – Recent Research

Nitrous Oxide-Emitting Organisms – Recent Research

Eileen here.

The poetic tranquility of water. The bliss of a flowing stream. The subtle euphoria of the aquatic world. We marine biologists know it well. But, as German researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology have found in recent research, it truly may not be a feeling of completeness and belonging imposed from finding our place in the aquatic world and sensing that special oneness with nature and all things hydrologic.


Nope. Turns out its just some little critters in the mud emitting laughing gas. Go figure.


Laughing gas, otherwise known as Nitrous oxide and one of the most notorious “greenhouse gases” is released by animals that feed by eating and sifting through sediments. According to the study, animals  that dig through the mud also end up eating nitrogen-converting bacteria which then in turn causes the animal to release the Nitrous oxide byproduct as they digest their food. While the researchers don’t feel that we have anything to worry about with the amounts of nitrous oxide produced, they do feel that the amounts could significantly increase if the amount of polluted water entering the streams rise. Looks like we’ll have to keep enjoying bodies of water the old-fashioned way – by boring our friends and loved ones to tears while we try to scientifically identify everything we see.


You can read the full article on LiveScience.com. 

About Eileen Daub

Read other posts by

Marine Biologist/Aquatic Husbandry Manager I was one of those kids who said "I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up!"....except then I actually became one. After a brief time at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I graduated from Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2004. Since then, I've been a marine biologist at That Fish Place - That Pet Place, along with a Fish Room supervisor, copywriter, livestock inventory controller, livestock mail-order supervisor and other duties here and there. I also spent eight seasons as a professional actress with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and in other local roles. If that isn't bad enough, I'm a proud Crazy Hockey Fan (go Flyers and go Hershey Bears!).