MARINE PLANKTON AS A POSSIBLE FOOD FOR MEN UNDER EMERGENCY CONDITIONS AT SEA,
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
Pagination or Media Count:
Experiments were conducted at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to determine the amount of zooplankton which could be obtained from a life raft, the chemical composition of the plankton, its nutritional value when fed to rats, and its palatableness to man. The largest amount of plankton actually obtained from a life raft in a 90-minute tow of an 18-inch No. 2 silk net was 150 cc which is equivalent to a catch of 2400 cc for 24 hours. The abundance of the plankton was a little more than 1 cc per cubic meter of sea water and was as great as ordinarily occurs in temperate coastal areas. The investigation has shown that there is little possibility of obtaining mans full nutritional requirement from plankton because of its scarcity and its probable partial indigestibility. Whether a partial relief of the drain on the bodys reserves is worth the difficulty and danger, if any, of catching and consuming plankton, and whether this source of food would improve morale, are questions which can only be decided by direct test. If it is found practicable to substitute plankton nets for drogues on life rafts, the possible benefit from eating plankton could be kept as a last resort.