Category Archives: Invertebrates
On the heels of international climate talks in Paris the World Wildlife Fund has released a startling review of the status of our oceans titled “Living Blue Planet Report.” The WWF and Zoological Society of London releases a bi-annual report that details the state of our planets “health” or homeostatic condition, but this report released just a couple of months ago is an amplified message, explaining how we as a species have mismanaged our oceans to the extent of imitate collapse. “When I wrote the foreword to the 2014 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report, I said it was not for the faint-hearted. This edition – a deep dive into the health of marine species and the habitats on which they depend – is equally if not more sobering” explains Marco Lambertini Director General at WWF International. Although the report tells a grim tale of our current state it spends much time offering solutions and reinforcing our innate ability to create change. “The good news is there are abundant opportunities to reverse these trends,” said Brad Ack, senior vice president for oceans at WWF. “Stopping black market fishing, protecting coral reefs, mangroves and other critical ocean habitats, and striking a deal in Paris to slash carbon pollution are all good for the ocean, the economy, and people. Now is the time for the US and other world players to lead on these important opportunities.” Please follow this link to view the ENTIRE REPORT FOR FREE but if you don’t have time to read the entire study please review these stunning statements written at the beginning of the paper:
- Nearly 3 billion people rely of fish as a major source of protein.
- Overall, Fisheries and Aquaculture assure the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population.
- 60 percent of the world’s population lives within 100km of the coast.
- Marine invertebrates populations have declined 49 percent between 1970 and 2012.
- Populations of fish species utilized by humans have fallen by half, with some of the most important species experiencing even greater declines.
- Around one in four species of sharks, rays, and skate is now threatened with extinction, due primarily to overfishing.
- Tropical reefs have lost more than half their reef-building corals of the past 30 years.
- Worldwide, nearly 20 percent of mangrove cover was lost between 1980 and 2005.
- 29 percent of marine fisheries are overfished. If current levels continue, the ocean will become too warm for coral reefs by 2050.
A paper published recently has shed some light into the battle against the Crown of Thorns sea star. “You don’t have to see the crown-of-thorns to know they have been on the reef. You can see where they have been because they leave trails of bleached white coral. All they leave behind are the coral skeletons,” says Cody Clements, a Georgia Tech graduate student in Hay’s lab and the paper’s lead author. The Crown of Thorns has been a thorn in the side of reef management for quite some time now, and methods to eradicate the menace have been largely unsuccessful, but this two-year study will allow management teams to incorporate the roles of seaweed into their plans to battle the onslaught of these sea stars.… More:
Data collected from the Reef Life Survey has allowed researchers from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton to measure the thermal-range tolerance of 2,695 shallow reef fish and 1225 reef invertebrates. From Greenland to Australia the team focused on the thermal “bias” within which inhabitants can adapt, while noting which groups are more susceptible to extinction and replacement. “They found that locations where the average summer sea surface temperature is presently 24 °C, such as the Gulf of Thailand, southwestern Caribbean and Three Kings-North Cape in New Zealand, are the most vulnerable to changing community biodiversity. This is because most of the species making up these communities are already living near the edge of their temperature distribution.” The effort has created new measurement tools for predicting the sensitivity of reefs to rising ocean temperatures around the world. Study co-author Dr. Amanda Bates adds: “A strong focus in climate change ecology has been on quantifying the exposure of different regions of the globe to warming. Our work offers new tools for measuring the sensitivity of communities to change including accurate indicators that can be used to predict vulnerability.” Photo Credit: Rick Stuart-Smith With the evolutionary notion that species come and go, this research provides an interesting look into the heat tolerance for thousand of reef inhabitants, while providing a predictive model for those most at risk: “In 100 years from now, 100 percent of species in many communities will be lost and replaced by new species able to tolerate warmer conditions, leading to a redistribution of species across the globe.” Read more here! … More: