Ocean report: Risk of marine extinctions unprecedented in human history

A “deadly trio” of carbon-related ocean impacts (ocean acidification, warming, and oxygen depletion) may lead to global marine extinctions on a scale unprecedented in human history. This is one of the main conclusions of a new report by an international panel of marine scientists (see my previous post Ocean of Trouble for more details).

The panel’s main findings were summarized as follows:

  • The combination of stressors on the ocean is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history.
  • The speed and rate of degeneration in the ocean is far faster than anyone has predicted.
  • Many of the negative impacts previously identified are greater than the worst predictions.
  • Although difficult to assess because of the unprecedented speed of change, the first steps to globally significant extinction may have begun with a rise in the extinction threat to marine species such as reef-forming corals.

Kelly Rigg, Huffpost Green, 20 June 2011. Full article.


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