In the coming century, life in the ocean will be confronted with a suite of environmental conditions that have no analog in human history. Thus, there is an urgent need to determine which marine species will adapt and which will go extinct. Here, we review the growing literature on marine extinctions and extinction risk in the fossil, historical, and modern records to compare the patterns, drivers, and biological correlates of marine extinctions at different times in the past. Characterized by markedly different environmental states, some past periods share common features with predicted future scenarios. We highlight how the different records can be integrated to better understand and predict the impact of current and projected future environmental changes on extinction risk in the ocean.
Archive for August 16th, 2012
Tags: paleo, review
Ocean pollution is something most of us are well aware of whether it be from seeing plastic bags washed ashore or images of marine life stuck in oil spills – but ocean acidification is a more latent phenomenon that scientists are still learning about. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks first with the editor of E: The Environmental magazine, Brita Belli, about her recent feature on ocean acidification and how oysters have been an unlikely source for better understanding the problem – and possible solutions. Then, the second part of our discussion with Seth Berry, an Assemblyman from Maine who’s not only actively involved in local environmental political issues, he also helps run a sustainable aquaculture business.
Clams are among the shellfish suffering thinning shells due to ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification continues to alarm scientists, as new evidence emerges about the impacts on shellfish, a vital part of the food chain for both marine animals and people.
A broad survey, spanning from the tropics to the poles, found thinning shells among a variety of shellfish including clams, sea snails and sea urchins. Researchers from British Antarctic Survey, the National Oceanography Centre, Australia’s James Cook and Melbourne Universities, and the National University of Singapore collaborated to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification in 12 regions. The results were published August 5 in the journal Global Change Biology.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national nonprofit conservation organization, has an opening beginning in September 2012 for a two-year, full-time Science Fellow. The Fellow will be supported by NRDC’s Science Center, whose mission is to expand NRDC’s scientific capabilities and increase support for the role of science in public policy, and will work with NRDC’s Oceans Program and several academic scientists on a spatial analysis identifying ocean acidification ‘hotspots’ in the U.S. and globally.