In Antarctica, a little poop goes a long way

The fetid waste of penguins and elephant seals helps spread nutrients across surprisingly large areas of Antarctica. This fertilizer traveled nearly as far as a kilometer (0.6 miles) past the edges of their active outposts, floating on the chilled Antarctic winds.
In areas where the poop wafted, tiny creatures such as mites, springtails (sometimes called snow fleas), and other microscopic critters were two to five times more abundant than in areas less fecally blessed, according to a paper in Current Biology. The discovery could also help researchers keep a close eye on these fragile and remote ecosystems without braving Antarctica’s extreme landscape.
Tiny mites and snow fleas might seem small to us, but they dominate terrestrial life…

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