Threat Of Mass Ocean Extinction

Posted on May 19th 2022

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In the next 100 years or more we are heading towards losing unprecedented marine life due to climate change.

Mass extinction

This planet has before seen mass extinction catastrophe’s. Scientists believe we are heading towards another. If emissions are left unchecked and warming waters and oxygen loss at sea continue as they are then we will see the same level of extinction that saw the dinosaurs wiped out.

However, it is in our hands to alter the catastrophe. Reducing emissions could reduce extinction risk by 70%. In addition if ocean pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction were also tackled then there is a good chance of long term survival.

Chance to make a change

Scientists still believe some marine life will inevitably be lost even if we do turn things around, but we have the chance to at least minimise the damage. The reality is horrible to be confronted with but it is encouraging to know that we still have a chance at turning things around.

Lack of oxygen in the oceans is increasing. It is not universal though, so marine life is being pushed to a decreasing band of oxygen rich water near the surface. These low oxygen zones are driven by rising sea temperatures.

Oxygen levels critical

The reduction of oxygen in deeper parts of the oceans means a concentration of fish in upper levels. That means fish are easier to catch, so we are contributing to reduction in marine life in more ways than one.

The lack of oxygen is having profound effects on marine life. In some instances it is reducing reproduction of fish, and increasing disease in others. Warmer waters also means more oxygen is required to sustain marine animals energy levels, but oxygen levels are being reduced.

Scientists believe that ocean warming and lack of oxygen could wipe out more species in the next century than all other issues, such as overfishing and pollution, combined. Fishes in tropical seas would have better chances of survival as they are used to warmer seas. Cold, high oxygen species would suffer the most.

Some scientists believe that certain species will be able to adapt, and we are not able to predict all that would happen. However the key thing to take on board is that regardless of adaption widespread species loss is predictable.

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