importance of coral reefs

Why Should I Care For the Oceans?

We’ve all heard it:

“Why does it matter if we overfish tuna? It tastes so good!”

“If the oceans dried up tomorrow, why would I care? I live 500miles away from any body of water!”

The thing is, without the oceans, we would all be dead. Our planet would probably look like Mars. There would be no freshwater, no food for us to eat, no suitable climate for us to survive.

(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Whether you live by the coast, or only see the ocean once a year on holiday, the ocean has an impact on your life. Every breath you take, every food or drinks you have… is thanks to our oceans. Every single individual and living being on this planet is deeply connected, and extremely dependent upon our seas.

The oceans regulates climate, weather, and temperature. They act as carbon dioxide ‘sinks’ from the atmosphere. They hold 97% of the Earth’s water. They govern our Earth’s chemistry; all the microbes and microscopic organisms at the very bottom of the food chain support our own existence. The oceans are also crucial for our economies, health and security.

(Photo credit: Brian Skerry)

The past generations have been raised with the idea that the ocean is huge (and it is) and resilient, and that we could basically take from or put into the oceans as much as we wanted. Now, we found out that we cant go on this way. This mentality is part of our problem and it needs to change.

While we have made tremendous discoveries about the oceans over the last few decades, we have also caused more destruction to the sea than ever before. Many fisheries stocks are overfished, catastrophic fishing techniques are destroying the habitats and depleting populations, many marine species are on the verge of extinction, coral reefs are dying, pollution run-offs from agricultural farms are creating dead-zones where nothing can grow or live, millions of gallons of oil have devastated the Gulf of Mexico, bigger and faster container ships create noise pollution for marine mammals and endangers them…The list goes on, and on. We have had so much impact that we have actually changed the pH of the oceans! 

Pretty overwhelming, uh? 

So yes, you should care, because if the oceans crash, we as a species are crashing with them. The entire planet Earth will be gone. And if that’s not enough of a wake-up call for you, I don’t know what else could be!

While all the current marine conservation issues appear huge and insurmountable, there is still hope. Each individual can make a difference now. YOU can make better choices about which fish to consume (or not at all!) and ask about the way they were caught or raised, YOU can encourage sustainable fishing practices, YOU can decide not to use fertilizer or pesticides in your backyard, YOU can bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store and stop using plastics, YOU can stop using products with microbeads, YOU can participate in beach clean-ups, YOU can start your own research and discover even more awesome things about the oceans… YOU can spread the word to your skeptic friends! Have people follow in your footsteps; inspire your friends and family. Be the change :) !

(Photo source: Flickr)

“If you want to have an impact on history and help secure a better future for all that you care about, be alive now” - Sylvia Earle

What are scientists up to in your national marine sanctuaries?

In Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, researchers are kicking off an expedition to explore the sanctuary’s deep-sea ecosystems!

Using a remotely operated vehicle, scientists from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will explore the sanctuary’s deep-water ecosystems. Photo: Charleston Lab

Located off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects remarkable biodiversity, productive ecosystems, and sensitive species and habitats. But more than a quarter of this ocean treasure remains unmapped and little-explored. This month, a research expedition will change that.

Throughout April and May, a team of NOAA-led researchers will explore the sanctuary’s deep seafloor environment. Deep-sea environments like those in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary provide nurseries and habitat for commercially-important species such as lobster, squid, and sea urchins. Some deep coral reefs may also produce chemicals that could be key to the next generation of medicines. However, these habitats are under threat. The two-week cruise on board the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada will shine a light on how these ecosystems are impacted by a variety of stresses facing them, such as ocean acidification.

When we burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When the ocean absorbs this carbon dioxide, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH and the amounts of available calcium carbonate minerals. This is known as ocean acidification. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms, including deep-sea corals.

Lophelia pertusa (white coral at left and lower-right) is a deep-sea coral that is sensitive to ocean acidification. Photo: NOAA

2014 survey results indicate that corals in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are already experiencing effects from ocean acidification, and waters in this area are projected to become even more acidic. Corals support extensive fish and invertebrate populations, including commercially-fished species, so it is important to monitor the potentially harmful effects ocean acidification has on deep-sea corals. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the ocean acidification team will collect samples of Lophelia pertusa, a stony reef-building deep-sea coral found in the sanctuary. Researchers will also monitor water chemistry in and around reefs to help measure local effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions and to assess this ecosystem’s overall vulnerability to ocean acidification.

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anonymous asked:

great blog! however, i think you should post more facts about algaes. that would make your blog even better!

  1. Algae is a one-celled plant that can grow in your pool if conditions are favorable
  2. There are over 20,000 known varieties of algae
  3. Algae are mainly found in marine or freshwater environments
  4. Algae produce oxygen which other aquatic life uses.
  5. Algae are important to humans in the form of food and medicine.
  6. Algae are vital in many food chains acting as the primary producer of organic matter.
  7. In some areas of the Indian ocean the sea surface lights up at night. It is so bright that one can read a newspaper. This light is caused by tiny sea algae, the Dino-flagellata. Sometimes the lightened surface has a diameter of more than 1.5 km.
  8. Algae are used in many wastewater treatment facilities, reducing the need for harmful chemicals, and are used in some power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  9. Red algae are important members of coral reefs. Red algae are unusual among the algae because they can include in their cell walls calcium carbonate which makes the plants hard and resistant to wear.
  10. Brown algae are found mainly in the tidal zones of temperate to polar seas, but some exist in the deep ocean. Among the brown algae are the largest and most complex of the algae; well-known forms include the giant kelp and the free-floating sargassum weed.
  11. Algae have chlorophyll and can manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis.
  12. Kelps are the largest algaes. They can be more than 200 feet.
  13. It is the major food for fishes.
  14. The oceans cover about 71% of the Earth’s surface, yet algae produce more than 71% of the Earth’s oxygen; in fact, some scientists believe that algae produce 87% of the world’s oxygen.
  15. They also help remove huge amounts of Carbon Dioxide.
  16. Oxygen was poisonous to the organisms that populated the early Earth. By producing oxygen, the first algae may have created the greatest toxic waste crisis in history.
  17. Fossilized Algae are used to make dynamite.
  18. Algae may be able to help save the planet.

is my blog cool now

youtube

“This is not a problem for future me or future you to deal with. This is something we need to sort out now.” 

Awesome and important video from oh-so-talented @zentouro

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Daniel Stoupin’s latest video deserves to be watched in a movie theater - these gifs don’t do it justice.

His painstaking time lapse photography reveals an incredible alien world – the world of the coral reef. As he explains on his blog:

Life has a very broad spectrum of speeds. While we associate plants and even faster creatures such as corals with something still and immobile, particular lifeforms would be hard to even perceive as living objects at all. Kilometers underground, under ocean floor, in ice, and in permafrost metabolic rates of organisms are dramatically slower than on the surface. To our perception such life is literally indistinguishable from rock.

Difficulties in understanding “slow” marine life and interpreting its behaviour, unfortunately, are aggravated by its decline caused by human impact. Marine systems are extremely delicate and react to the tiniest perturbations of the environment. Although such alterations in the environmental parameters appear small to us, they are catastrophic to corals, sponges, and numerous other representatives of marine life that create entire ecosystems in the ocean. Through long chains of connections coral reef deterioration is catastrophic to us as well, for we are ultimately as sensitive to our habitat as the colorful creatures appearing in my time lapses.

Beautiful images. Important story.