Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ocean Biodiversity Being Destroyed


Ocean Biodiversity Being Destroyed

Author:  Tanya Berry

Contact:  tanberry@pdx.edu


The world’s oceans are some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet.  Scientists are still discovering new plant and animal life.  There is a  great threat to this biodiversity.  It is caused by human activity and is called hypoxia or also known as dead zones.

Hypoxia is a depletion of oxygen from water which no living plant or animal can survive.  Majority of this is from fertilizers that farmers use on crops such as nitrate and phosphate.  These nutrients help plants grow, but when it runs off into the rivers then ocean, it fertilizes oceanic plants which create an over growth known as plankton blooms.  These plants over produce and eventually die.  This increased algae begins to decompose which depletes the oxygen.
 
Scientist have counted approximately 400 areas worldwide that this has occurred.  Just this year alone off of the shores of Texas and Louisiana where there is run off from the Mississippi River, approximately 5000 square miles is a Dead Zone.


These areas can be changed, but it is going to take time to reverse.  Near our Mississippi river, scientists have been working with farmers to find other solutions to effectively and efficiently use nutrients in the soil.  Agriculture is the biggest contributor to this problem, but scientists also feel that through agriculture we can reverse and prevent this in the future from finding environmentally safe fertilizers to possibly a filtering system for the rivers.  There is a way this can be fixed, but we need to be aware of what we are putting in our soils and be proactive.


References:

 

Chesapeake Bay Foundation


 
Dallas News


 
Wikipedia

 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 


The Ohio State University


 
Paul R. Pinet, Invitation to Oceanography 6th Edition, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011

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