Is life au des in biology?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Earth's Marine Ecological Crisis: Challenges and Solutions

Acidification, toxification, climate change, and over-fishing are destroying our planet's marine ecosystems. Here I will explain the mechanisms and solutions of this crisis. All of these factors threaten the security of our food and oxygen.

The saturation of oceans with CO2 from the use of fossil fuels is lowering the pH of the oceans; this acidification of the ocean impairs the ability of marine organisms and has already reduced the health of ecologically important reefs and the productivity of commercial oyster beds.1 The rate of oceanic CO2 saturation can be offset by the implementation of seaweed farms which would also provide a world-changing amount of nutrient-dense food if adopted on the scale necessary to offset marine CO2 saturation.2

Climate change is retarding phytoplankton growth. Phytoplankton is the basis of the marine food chain.3 They also account for about half of Earth's oxygen recycling. Fossil fuel burning and methane production are the primary contributors to climate change.

Levels of toxins including mercury, pesticides, PCB's, and petrochemicals are rising and toxic to all animals. Already some animals' reproduction rates are affected and many kinds of seafood are unsafe to eat during pregnancy and in an excess that would otherwise be healthy.4

The destruction of marine habitat also promises the extinction of biomimetically and biotechnologically useful species. Biomimetics is biologically inspired innovation. An example is the development of a new anti-fouling surface from the study of seeds which float on ocean currents to fertile land.5 Marine shipping has so far used surface which leach toxins to kill organisms which would otherwise foul the vessel, but biomimetics is changing this. You don't know which organism can yield what breakthrough until it happens.

We won't be able to eat as much fish in the long-term if the depletion of Earth's fisheries continues. In the status quo so much fish are caught at once that their population is over time decreasing instead of increasing. It is possible to catch an amount of fish that allows their populations to still go up from reproduction.6

Also see:


No comments:

Post a Comment