Deep Impact

Humans Assail the Seven Seas




Human activity has tainted all but 3.7 percent of the world’s oceans, and 41 percent are heavily affected, according to a new study published in Science. Cutting-edge mapping clearly details the hit the briny deep has taken from 17 human threats, including climate change, overfishing, fertilizer runoff, coastal development and shipping pollution. Only a few small isolated areas near both poles, endpoints of what ocean advocates consider “Earth’s last great bastion of nature,” remain relatively pristine, although not untouched.

The team of American, British and Canadian researchers, led by Benjamin S. Halpern, of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, found that rising ocean temperatures pose the biggest threat to marine ecosystems. Systems under particularly acute pressure include seamounts, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds and coral reefs. Regions currently suffering the most stress are the North and Norwegian seas, South and East China seas, Eastern Caribbean, North American eastern seaboard, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Bering Sea and the waters around Sri Lanka.


Primary Source: Grist.org

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Migrating Trees

Three-quarters of American tree species have shifted to the West since 1980 due to dryer conditions in the East and changing rainfall patterns.

Plutonium Problem

To safely dispose of 56 million gallons of nuclear waste dating back to the Second World War, the Department of Energy might replace a glass-log encasement plan with a cement option.

Bat Banter

Computer algorithms helped Israeli researchers decode the language of Egyptian fruit bats and discover that bats exchange information about specific problems.

Tuna Turnaround

Levels of toxic mercury in Atlantic Bluefin tuna declined 19 percent between 2004 and 2012, a drop that scientists attribute to a shift from coal to natural gas and renewable energy.

Buzzing RoboBees

Harvard researchers have invented tiny robotic bees that may be able to eventually pollinate the crops that are under threat because of vanishing bee colonies.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags