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Researchers hope to save seabirds by calculating the value of their poop

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Seabird species such as gulls and pelicans are often overlooked when it comes to conservation and can struggle to capture the public eye. To raise awareness of their importance to people and the ecosystems we depend on, a Science & Society article appearing August 6 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution looks at something that most of us find off-putting: their poop. The researchers say that the poop, which is also known as guano and serves as a source of fertilizer and a key contribution to coastal and marine ecosystems, could be worth more than $470 million annually. By calculating this direct benefit to people, they hope to quantify the importance of seabirds and illustrate the monetary cost of declining populations.

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