Giant larvacean houses: rapid carbon transport to the deep sea floor

Science. 2005 Jun 10;308(5728):1609-11. doi: 10.1126/science.1109104.


An unresolved issue in ocean science is the discrepancy between the food requirements of the animals living on the deep sea floor and their food supply, as measured by sediment traps. A 10-year time-series study of the water column off Monterey Bay, California, revealed that the discarded mucus feeding structures of giant larvaceans carry a substantial portion of the upper ocean's productivity to the deep seabed. These abundant, rapidly sinking, carbon-rich vectors are not detected by conventional sampling methods and thus have not been included in calculations of vertical nutrient flux or in oceanic carbon budgets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon / analysis*
  • Food
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Seasons
  • Seawater*
  • Urochordata / anatomy & histology
  • Urochordata / physiology*
  • Zooplankton / physiology


  • Carbon