27 November 2007

The unquiet sea

Some updates and follow-ups on a few topics related to the sea that have previously discussed on planet doom?.

The trend towards increasing numbers of jellyfish being observed in the oceans continues. This was earlier noted to be a result of overfishing , killing off their natural predators and climate change

The jellyfish, covering an area of around 10 square miles , engulfed the Northern Salmon Company's cages off the province's northeastern coast, suffocating 100,000 fish...

...jellyfish [only] "bloom" in such quantities...every decade or so and [this] appearance off the Irish coast was also due to unusual environmental factors including higher-than-normal water temperatures. [emphasis added]

The swarm was reported the next day as heading towards Scotland, prompting the issuance of warnings.

The impacts of climate change on coral reefs continues to become more apparent, as evidenced by these recent news items.

...[S]oft corals, an integral and important part of reef environments, are simply melting and wasting away and...this could mean a global marine catastrophe.

Environmental stress...is damaging the symbiotic relationship between soft corals and the microscopic symbiotic algae living in their tissues. There is no doubt that global warming is to blame...

It is not just climate change, but rather the whole range environmental degradation that both humans and Nature impose on the ocean that causes problems.

The delicate balance of the Caribbean's coral reefs is in jeopardy as more parrotfish end up on dinner plates, international scientists said on Wednesday.

The colorful grazing fish, named for their parrot-like beaks which are used to scrape up algae, play a vital role in stopping seaweed from smothering coral. But their numbers are now being threatened by over-fishing.

The sad thing is that these fish -- the last line of defense against the seaweed -- don't taste particularly good (apparently, I've never had one). Rather, all the tasty fish have been over-exploited and are now too rare. So we're just moving on to the next species down the list as we systematically ravage the ocean. Hooray for humans!

The seas face many perils, including ocean acidification and warming temperatures. A $2-3 billion proposal went out today to improve our knowledge of the ocean, which are “as little understood as the Moon”, through an ambitious but plausible research program. A much better line of research than the re-opening of UFO research called for a few weeks ago [unless, of course ,the aliens are going to help solve our environmental problems (*_*)]. Not enough money, you say? How about we take some money from the military budgets of the world and invest in saving the planet rather than finding new and creative ways to destroy it and everything on it. Surely its not that hard. Three billion is chump change compared to what the US has spent to date on the Iraq debacle (cost so far, $1.6 trillion).

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