11 Surprising Uses For Pee and Poop

Ocean fertilizer

(Image credit: Dr. Louis M. Herman/NOAA/CC BY 2.0)

Whales are among the largest living creatures on Earth — as such, they generate enormous quantities of pee and poop. And that's a good thing, as their waste provides critical nutrients for a variety of marine creatures.

Whales typically relieve themselves at the sea surface before they dive, leaving behind a "fluffy" effluvia plume. This fecal feast releases nutrients that originated in ocean depths and nourish phytoplankton — tiny marine plants — which live close to the surface, and play an important part in ocean food webs.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.