sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Ocean life faces greater risk of large-scale extinctions
Ocean life faces greater risk of large-scale extinctions

'If susceptible table and branching species are replaced by mound-shaped corals, it would leave fewer nooks and crannies where fish shelter and feed.'    ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©    Click Here to view large photo

Life in the planet’s oceans faces much greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any other time in human history, a team of the world’s leading marine scientists has warned.

The researchers from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK have compared events which drove massive extinctions of sea life in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today.

Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were associated with global warming and acidification of the oceans – trends which also apply today, the scientists say in a new article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Coral fossil -  Dr Maria del Carmen_(K-le)_Gomez_Cabrera  

Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from seawaters, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing – or a combination of these factors.

'Currently, the Earth is again in a period of increased extinctions and extinction risks, this time mainly caused by human factors,' the scientists stated. While the data is harder to collect at sea than on land, the evidence points strongly to similar pressures now being felt by sea life as for land animals and plants.

The researchers conducted an extensive search of the historical and fossil records to establish the main causes of previous marine extinctions – and the risk of their recurring today.

'We wanted to understand what had driven past extinctions of sea life and see how much of those conditions prevailed today,' says co-author Professor John Pandolfi, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland, an authority on the fate of coral reefs in previous mass extinction events.

'It is very useful to look back in time – because if you forget your history, you’re liable to repeat it.'

Coral fossil -  Dr Maria del Carmen_(K-le)_Gomez_Cabrera  

Marine extinction events vary greatly. In the ‘Great Death’ of the Permian 250 million years ago, for example, an estimated 95 per cent of marine species died out due to a combination of warming, acidification, loss of oxygen and habitat. Scientists have traced the tragedy in the chemistry of ocean sediments laid down at the time, and abrupt loss of many sea animals from the fossil record.

'We are seeing the signature of all those drivers today – plus the added drivers of human overexploitation and pollution from chemicals, plastics and nutrients,' Prof. Pandolfi says.

'The fossil record tells us that sea life is very resilient – that it recovers after one of these huge setbacks. But also that it can take millions of years to do so.'

Caribbean coral -  ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©  
The researchers wrote the paper out of their concern that the oceans appear to be on the brink of another major extinction event.

'There may be still time to act,' Prof. Pandolfi says. 'If we understand what drives ocean extinction, we can also understand what we need to do to prevent or minimise it.

'We need to understand that the oceans aren’t just a big dumping ground for human waste, contaminants and CO2 – a place we can afford to ignore or overexploit. They are closely linked to our own survival, wellbeing and prosperity as well as that of life on Earth in general.

'Even though we cannot easily see what is going on underwater, we need to recognise that the influence of seven billion humans is now so great it governs the fate of life in the oceans. And we need to start taking responsibility for that.'

He adds 'The situation is not hopeless. If fact we have seen clear evidence both from the past and the present that sea life can bounce back, given a chance to do so.

'For example, in Australia we have clear evidence of that good management of coral reefs can lead to recovery of both corals and fish numbers.

'So, rather, our paper is an appeal to humanity to give the oceans a chance.

   George Roff  

   George Roff  

Coral fossil -  Dr Maria del Carmen_(K-le)_Gomez_Cabrera  

'In effect, it says we need to stop releasing the CO2 that drives these massive extinction events, curb the polluted and nutrient-rich runoff from the land that is causing ocean ‘dead zones’ manage our fisheries more sustainably and protect their habitat better.

'All these things are possible, but people need to understand why they are essential. That is the first step in taking effective action to prevent extinctions.'

Their paper Extinctions in ancient and modern seas by Paul G. Harnik, Heike K. Lotze, Sean C. Anderson, Zoe V. Finkel, Seth Finnegan, David R. Lindberg, Lee Hsiang Liow, Rowan Lockwood, Craig R. McClain, Jenny L. McGuire, Aaron O’Dea, John M. Pandolfi, Carl Simpson and Derek P. Tittensor appears in the online edition of Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE).

ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies website


by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=101287

7:41 PM Thu 23 Aug 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World





A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,












ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video by Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association,
























2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4 by William Wagner, San Francisco


























GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level
ISAF Sailing World Championships - RS:X action begins in Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Americans rise in Laser and Radial
Extreme Sailing Series - A remarkable penultimate day’s racing + Video
Marseille One Design - GC32 GDF Suez unstoppable in the light
Rolex Swan Cup - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Images of the leaders in Santander   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Good day for Double Trouble   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2 images by Erik Simonson   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - TP52 fleet ready for tricky race tracks   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Plenty maintains lead   
2014 Asia Pacific Student Cup - Count down begins   
Extreme Sailing Series: Live coverage of Day 3 - view here   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Going away   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Practice makes perfect   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Contrasting conditions on Day 4   
Rolex Big Boat Series - 50 years of big boat racing: a retrospective   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Day 2   
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Champ: Rios takes the Championship   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg Zero signals start of the significant racing   
Extreme Sailing Series: Physically demanding racing for BAR on Day 2   
Emirates Team NZ: Holding second overall after Day 2 in Istanbul   
Extreme Sailing Series: A force to be reckoned with in Istanbul +Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Day 1 images by Jesus Renedo and Pedro Martinez   
Marseille One Design: GC32's Armin Strom storms ahead on day 2 + Video   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT