Tropical coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean, but they are home and nursery to 25% of all marine species; billions of fish, mollusks and other creatures rely on reefs for their food and shelter. Their wonder and beauty generates needed tourism dollars for many poor nations, and they act as natural barriers providing storm surge protection for many millions of coastal residents.
David Lusseau, senior lecturer in Marine Top Predator Biology at the University of Aberdeen, told IBTimes UK this does appear to be the largest whale stranding for any type of baleen whales. He said: “I do not know of other events with such large numbers of individuals involved. Seeing multiple sei whales stranded together in clusters is beyond the ordinary.”
“This El Nino is building up to be quite a doozy, but we also have a series of other changes going on,” said Steve Palumbi, director of the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University. “We are having changes in wind patterns, changes in upwellings along the coast. It’s like your whole basic ecosystem is being shifted around in different ways.”
Two cold winters have given the gulf some breathing space, but climate models and recorded trends indicate our seas are going to keep warming, with the conditions experienced in the “ocean heat wave” becoming the new normal by mid-century. The result will be dramatic changes in an ecosystem Mainers have relied on since the end of the last ice age, ones for which our communities, industries and government are poorly prepared to face.
“Overall, we found there’s a decrease in species diversity and abundance irrespective of what ecosystem we are looking at. These are broad scale impacts, made worse when you combine the effect of warming with acidification.
According to a 2013 study, marine species are pushing their range boundaries poleward, away from the Equator, at an average speed of 4.5 miles a year. That’s 10 times as faster as the speed at which species on land are moving.
by nicola jones In Hawaii this summer, as corals engage in their once-a-year courtship ritual of releasing sperm and eggs into the water by moonlight, Ruth Gates will oversee a unique mating: the coming together of “super-corals” in her lab…. Read More ›
Weird things are happening off the Pacific Coast.
And at the center of the action is a warm-water mass that scientists call “the blob.”
It’s turning the coastal ecosystem on its head. Species are dying along Washington, Oregon and northern California: sea stars, marine birds and sardines, among them.
“When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” once a tagline of the American Lung Association, today it might easily describe what is happening in many areas of the ocean. Hypoxia, the lack of oxygen in our estuaries, coastal and deep… Read More ›