Destruction of Ocean Marine Ecosystems and Coral Reefs
Map of Location of World’s Coral Reefs
Map of World Seagrasses (which are important as a carbon sink)
Thermohaline Circulation of World Oceans
We are in the midst of a crisis relating to the destruction of our ocean marine ecosystems and coral reefs. It was long thought that the oceans were so vast that there were no limits to the amount of pollution we could dump in them and the number of fish that we could extract from them. Three things have caused an abrupt change in our understanding of the vulnerability of our oceans. One has been a mass die-off of coral reefs around the world. The second has been the depletion of fish species from over-fishing. The third has been the development of vast islands of floating garbage in the ocean. All of these things have caused us to re-evaluate our human impacts upon the ocean marine environment. One of the things that we have discovered is that the CO2 and air pollution of our human environment is creating a crisis of the acidification of the ocean. This threatens all the ocean marine ecosystems, but especially those of the coral reefs and shell fish which are most vulnerable to changes in the ph level of the oceans. Equally alarming are the increasing numbers of dead spots and large islands of floating garbage in the ocean. Ironically, one of the largest of the islands of floating garbage is located off the Islands of Hawaii, one of the most remote areas of the ocean, demonstrating that ocean currents carry pollution and garbage that we dump into the ocean to eventually all parts of the ocean. Finally, we have already experienced the collapse of significant fish populations, with scientists predicting that in the not too distant future we could see the end of much of existing commercial fishing.