New Report Warns of Ocean Mass Extinctions

by Matt Ball on June 22, 2011

The International Programme on the State of the Ocean was created to assess and mitigate the decline of the global ocean, “earth’s circulatory system that performs vital functions to make the planet habitable.” The organization just released an international and interdisciplinary report by marine experts that reviews the latest scientific research and concludes that the cumulative effects of pressures like overfishing, pollution, acidification and climate change will be worse than anticipated, wiping out marine species and ecosystems on a global scale.

The potentially deadly trio of factors — global warming, acidification and lack of oxygen that leads to dead zones  — affecting today’s oceans poses grave threats for ocean biodiversity. Acidification is occurring faster than in the past 55 million years, and the added manmade stressors of overfishing and pollution are also undermining ocean resilience.

This interactive graphic illustrates the role that the Ocean plays:

View the following video by Professor Dan Laffoley, senior advisor at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that emphasises the vital role of the ocean for humans and the deadly combination of stressors at play.

You can view case studies and report summaries from this international group of scientists here.

 

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