AuthorTopic: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread  (Read 6490 times)

Offline Surly1

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Every Animal Pulled From the Deepest Part of the Ocean Had Plastic in Its Gut
“What you put in the trench stays in the trench.”




11
ENVIRONMENT

Stories of whales, turtles, and seabirds with guts filled with plastic have become increasingly common. 

Recently, a team of scientists wanted to determine the extent of plastic pollution and its effects on animals by investigating the most remote regions of the ocean, sending vehicles to the deepest marine trenches to collect tiny amphipods — shrimp-like creatures — that scavenge for food in the harsh environment.

In the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the ocean, every single amphipod captured had at least one plastic fiber in its stomach, according to the research published Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science

Across six trenches that were studied, 72% of amphipods contained plastic particles. Although the plastic pieces were minuscule, the researchers told the Atlantic that relative to the creature’s size, the fibers were equivalent to a human swallowing a meter of plastic rope.

Alan Jamieson, the lead author of the report, told the Atlantic that the plastic likely harms the creatures in multiple ways. For one, plastic is indigestible and therefore takes up space in the gut. If enough plastic is in an animal’s stomach, the creature could mistakenly think it's full and starve to death as a result.

Plastic can also be a magnet for toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that disrupt the health of animals. Jamieson has documented PCB pollution in marine environments in other research.

Read More: Every Marine Animal Studied in This Report Contained Microplastics

Amphipods living in the deepest parts of the oceans are, by necessity, excellent scavengers. The relative scarcity of food and lack of light miles underwater make any morsel of food valuable. As a result, amphipods are uniquely vulnerable to consuming pieces of plastic.

Future research will have to be done to figure out how plastic consumption affects amphipod health.

But the impact of plastic on other animals could provide some clues. One team of researchers found that turtles become 20% more likely to die after consuming a single piece of plastic, and many beached whales have been found with guts full of plastic. Even coral reefs are adversely impacted by plastic pollution.

It’s likely that amphipods are similarly harmed by plastic and, if that’s the case, then plastic pollution poses an existential to marine ecosystems. These tiny creatures are a source of food for other animals and their decline could ricochet throughout marine food chains.

Read More: Scientists Found a Plastic Grocery Bag in the Ocean's Deepest Trench

Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans and more than 5 trillion pieces of microplastic currently contaminate marine environments.

As rates of plastic production continue to climb, perhaps the decline of marine species will serve as a wake-up call for countries to protect the oceans.

“What you put in the trench stays in the trench,” Jamieson told the Atlantic. “[The plastic problem] is only going to get worse. Anything going in there isn’t coming back.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline azozeo

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These corals choose to eat plastic over food
« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2019, 12:12:52 PM »



SCIENTISTS HAVE FOR the first time shown that some wild corals are feeding on tiny shreds of plastic trash. Worse, the animals seem to prefer those ‘microplastics’ over their natural food—even when the plastic is carrying bacteria that can kill them.

The new study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, focused on a temperate species of coral collected off Rhode Island, one that builds small clusters no larger than a human fist. But researchers say the findings suggest that more familiar tropical, reef-building corals may also be consuming—and being harmed by—microplastics, which are defined as bits of plastic waste smaller than a fifth of an inch across.

The new results add to the growing sense that microplastics are ubiquitous in the environment, from tall mountain peaks to the deepest ocean trenches. Many organisms, from fish to birds, have been found to eat small bits of plastic. So do humans, through tainted water and food sources.



https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/these-corals-choose-to-eat-plastic-over-food/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline azozeo

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August 21st, 2019

By Nikki Harper

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

The scale of plastic waste in our oceans is enormous. We’ve all seen and recoiled at the photos of precious marine wildlife and birds with plastic-filled stomachs, but as previously reported here on Wake Up World, it’s not only the larger pieces of plastic which are a threat. Microplastics, pieces 5mm across or smaller, are everywhere. According to a 2015 study, there could be up to 51 trillion pieces in our oceans. [1]

Microplastics have been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean. [2] They are also found in the fish and shellfish we eat, and therefore in human excrement. We don’t yet know for sure how the microplastics we ingest harm our health, but it’s a pretty safe bet that they do. The microplastics ingested by marine life are known to cause tumours and liver issues. [3]

Although some innovative ideas are being developed to deal with large plastic waste, combatting microplastics has remained a key problem. That could be about to change, as a new study published in the journal Matter reveals. [4]

Scientists have created microscopic nano tubes, thinner than a human hair, made from carbon and coated with nitrogen and manganese, a magnetic metal. The two coatings create a chemical reaction which results in highly reactive oxygen molecules. This oxidation process decomposes and mineralizes microplastics, turning them into carbon dioxide, water and harmless salts. These end products are harmless to the marine environment, or even potentially beneficial as a carbon source for algae growth.



https://wakeup-world.com/2019/08/21/promising-study-suggests-that-magnetic-nano-coils-can-decompose-ocean-microplastics/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2019, 08:28:04 PM »
What could possibly go wrong?
Just like we always seem to want a pill to instantly fix our ails rather than change lifestyle, or even god forbid put up with some discomfort, we now want an instant techno fix rather than stop trashing the joint.
Every technological advance has unforeseen side effects, just like every drug has side effects, some unforeseen. Thalidomide anyone?

You want less plastic in the oceans?
Stop buying shit made of plastic morons.

Everywhere I see stupid people. I think I will become a hermit.

JOW

Offline Surly1

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2019, 03:12:17 AM »
What could possibly go wrong?
Just like we always seem to want a pill to instantly fix our ails rather than change lifestyle, or even god forbid put up with some discomfort, we now want an instant techno fix rather than stop trashing the joint.
Every technological advance has unforeseen side effects, just like every drug has side effects, some unforeseen. Thalidomide anyone?

You want less plastic in the oceans?
Stop buying shit made of plastic morons.

Everywhere I see stupid people. I think I will become a hermit.

JOW

There will probably be plastic there, too.

Quote
You want less plastic in the oceans?
Stop buying shit made of plastic morons.

It is just that simple.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline azozeo

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Re: Official Ocean Death Watch Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2019, 10:57:27 AM »
What could possibly go wrong?
Just like we always seem to want a pill to instantly fix our ails rather than change lifestyle, or even god forbid put up with some discomfort, we now want an instant techno fix rather than stop trashing the joint.
Every technological advance has unforeseen side effects, just like every drug has side effects, some unforeseen. Thalidomide anyone?

You want less plastic in the oceans?
Stop buying shit made of plastic morons.

Everywhere I see stupid people. I think I will become a hermit.

JOW


This Hermitista virus seems to be catching......

2 diners in 1 week, not bad !  :icon_mrgreen:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🐠 As new disease wipes out Caribbean coral, scientists tear up reefs to stop
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2019, 12:54:53 AM »
https://graphics.reuters.com/ENVIRONMENT-CORALS-DISEASE/0100B2CP1GL/index.html

As new disease wipes out Caribbean coral, scientists tear up reefs to stop the spread


Coral Collapse

The reef plague

The building blocks of the undersea infrastructure are being decimated by a mysterious plague. And no one is sure how to stop it.

Photography by Lucas Jackson
Story by Lucas Jackson and Chris Prentice
Graphics by Travis Hartman

PUBLISHED Sept. 26, 2019   

Off the coast of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a group of scientists is tearing a reef apart in a feverish attempt to save some of its coral.

They are battling a fast-moving, lethal disease that researchers say is unprecedented in the speed with which it can damage large numbers of coral species across the Caribbean Sea.

Breaking their cardinal rule to never touch the coral, the scientists are removing diseased specimens to try to stop the disease spreading and save what remains.

Meanwhile, researchers and divers in Florida, where the disease was first spotted in 2014, are also removing coral samples and shipping them to places as far-flung as Kansas and Oklahoma, in a last-ditch effort to save the 20 species or more thought to be susceptible to what has been dubbed Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.

RAVAGED REEFS

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease was first observed around Virginia Key near Miami in 2014. It spread to the northernmost extent of the Florida coral reef tract by 2017 and has now extended past Key West to the south.

Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The disease prompts rapid tissue loss, appearing first as white patches that sprawl out across the coral, before eventually stripping it of color and life altogether.

About half the coral species that make up Florida’s reef tracts and about a third of those throughout the Caribbean are vulnerable to the disease, at a time when the delicate ecosystems are already threatened by climate change.

Overall, Florida’s Upper Keys have seen greater than 40% loss in coral cover between 2013 and 2018, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Diver downGraduate students and research technicians (top) regularly dive around the University of the Virgin Islands campus in St. Thomas to inspect corals affected by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). Research technician Danielle Lasseigne, works with graduate students (left) to remove diseased corals. Lasseigne cuts a brain coral (Pseudodiploria Strigosa) with a steel chisel to remove the portion of the animal being killed by SCTLD.Photos by Lucas Jackson

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has been identified in seven other Caribbean localities, according to the Florida Sea Grant, a university-based program funded by the federal government. Unlike the more well-known coral bleaching phenomenon, coral typically cannot recover from Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. The species fall victim to it at different paces, with a mortality rate of 66-100 percent.

“I have never seen anything that affects so many species, so quickly and so viciously — and it just continues,” said Marilyn Brandt of the University of the Virgin Islands, who is one of the researchers involved in the efforts to save the reefs near St. Thomas.

DiseasedA nail is used to mark the extent of tissue killed by SCTLD.Photo by Lucas Jackson

CORAL ANATOMY

Pillar coral are composed of colonies of up to thousands of small polyps that grow slowly over hundreds of years. They feed via a symbiotic relationship with the algae (zooxanthellae) in their skin, slowly forming a limestone skeleton that helps provide shelter and breeding grounds for aquatic life.

“All the diseases I’ve studied in the past could be considered like the flu. They come every year, seasonally, and sometimes there are worse outbreaks. This thing is more like Ebola. It’s a killer, and we don’t know how to stop it.”

Brandt’s team first spotted the disease along the west coast of St. Thomas in January and have launched a frantic effort to try to stem its advance, resorting to removing diseased corals with a hammer and chisel to try to salvage the rest.

“The coral basically liquefies from the inside out,” Brandt said.


Healthy Coral

Healthy coral have a symbiotic relationship with the algae that lives in its skin cells. The algae gives the normally transparent coral polyp its color and provides the coral with up to 90% of its energy which allows it to multiply and build up its limestone skeleton.

Bleaching

Abnormally warm or cold water, pollution or some other stressor causes the algae to leave the coral polyp’s skin. The white limestone skeleton now shows through the transparent polyp. It can recover if the stressor subsides in time and the algae returns.


Stony Coral Tissue Loss

The disease causes rapid tissue loss when the coral and the algae within liquify from the inside out. If the disease does not fully destroy the colony, the coral has a chance to regrow, though it is very rare that SCTLD leaves any part of the coral alive.

WEAKENED SYSTEM

The disease was first identified near Miami, Florida, where the port was conducting a dredging project, and has now spread throughout almost all of the state’s reef tract.

The coral in the area were already stressed from the dredging and a recent bleaching event, so it was unsurprising they got hit with a disease, the scientists told Reuters. Like with a human body, a weakened immune system can make coral more susceptible to disease.

“All the diseases I’ve studied in the past could be considered like the flu. They come every year, seasonally, and sometimes there are worse outbreaks. This thing is more like Ebola. It’s a killer, and we don’t know how to stop it.”

Marilyn Brandt

Research Associate Professor, University of the Virgin Islands

“We tend to just study these events. We monitor them. We try to research what to do. We just watch it happen and assume that Mother Nature is going to be able to take the reins and everything’s going to be fine,” said Maurizio Martinelli, Coral Disease Response Coordinator at the Florida Sea Grant.

But the scale of the new disease has led to a more urgent approach. Large coral individuals that scientists have estimated to be hundreds of years old have been dying within a matter of several weeks, according to the scientists’ estimates.

“We can’t just watch these corals all die in front of us,” Martinelli said.

First noticed

January 2019

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is first spotted around the Flat Cay islands.

Spreading by current

February 2019

The disease seems to be following the prevailing near-shore currents which tend to run east to west along the south side of the island.

Widespread disease

April 2019

Five months after first sighting, the disease has progressed to coral reefs on the north side of the island.

Severe problem

June 2019

The first group of coral reefs that were seen to have the disease have become severely infected.

Source: Data courtesy of Marilyn Brandt, University of Virgin Islands

Corals, which cover about 1 percent of the Earth's surface, are animals that settle on the ocean floor and support more sea life than any other marine environment. As well as supporting thousands of species of plants, fish and other sea life, they draw huge numbers of tourists, scientists and divers.

They also provide a natural barrier to flooding, preventing $1.8 billion worth of damages to buildings, business and coastal economies and protecting more than 18,000 citizens annually in the United States alone, according to a 2019 U.S. Geological Survey report.

Four PillarsFour varieties of pillar corals (Dengrogyra cylindrus) to be studied by scientists sit in water at the Florida Aquarium. This species of coral is extremely susceptible to SCTLD.Video by Lucas Jackson

But the federal budget to protect coral reefs has been largely unchanged for years, and that's left coral science in the "Middle Ages," said coral scientist William Precht.

The disease is likely the deadliest for coral since so-called white-band disease emerged in the 1970s, almost wiping out two kinds of coral, he said.

“Now, we’re looking at a similar type of disease, but instead of affecting two species, it hits 22,” said Precht.

“The end result could be catastrophic.”

Coral illustrations by Julia Ledur
Visual editing by Christine Chan
Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Surly1

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Half of the Great Barrier Reef has died since 2016
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2019, 05:13:16 PM »
Half of the Great Barrier Reef has died since 2016 — here's what happens if all coral reefs on Earth die off


Some of the corals here are already bleaching, losing their color, which is a sign that they're being stressed by heat or acidity. The Ocean Agency/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/Richard Vevers

--Since 2016, coral bleaching events have killed off approximately half of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest and most extensive reef system in the world.
--The heat and acidity devastating the Great Barrier Reef are killing other corals around the globe.
--Without coral reefs, there could be a rippling ecosystem collapse in the oceans, with devastating effects on the planet.


For coral reefs around the world, time is running out. That bad news for reefs is also bad news for the rest of the ocean and for humanity, since we depend on the planet's seas.

One-third of the 3,863 reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef — the largest, most extensive reef system in the world — went through a catastrophic die-off after a searing heat wave in 2016, according to a study newly published in the journal Nature. A bleaching event in 2017 devastated even more of that reef, and the cumulative effects have killed an estimated half of the magnificent system in just two years.

The same devastation is hitting reefs around the world .According to some estimates, similar conditions around the globe have killed off about half the world's coral reefs in the past 30 years.

The Great Barrier Reef corals were vulnerable because they've been subjected to warming oceans that are rapidly becoming more acidic. Those changes have been driven by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, which are warming the world and causing Earth's climate to change faster than reefs can keep up.

A healthy ocean depends on reefs

Reefs are stunning psychedelic wonderlands that snorkelers and divers love to explore — they're full of colorful shapes, swaying and branching creatures, and more. Reefs provide jobs for people in fishing and tourism industries, and they also protect coastal areas from surging seas.

But perhaps more importantly, 25% of fish species spend some part of their life cycle in reefs, despite the fact that they cover less than 1% of the ocean floor.

Losing such an essential part of the ocean environment could therefore have rippling effects that cause much broader collapse.

As Michael Crosby, a marine scientist and the president of Mote Laboratory and Aquarium, told Business Insider for a recent feature on reef restoration, loss of reefs could have potentially terrifying consequences.

“You like to breathe?” Crosby asked. “Estimates are that up to 80% of the oxygen you are breathing in right now comes from the ocean. It doesn’t come from the land. In order for you to continue to breathe, you have to have a healthy ocean.” 

coral bleaching reefs
There are ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ among corals as they respond to the accumulating impacts of climate change.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies/ Mia Hoogenboom

How reefs end

The reason reefs are dying is human activity.

In some places, overfishing has wiped out healthy food chains, allowing algae and parasites to overwhelm corals. At other sites, boats dragging anchors and nets — or just scraping along the sea floor — have damaged or destroyed reefs. Pollution from agriculture and runoff from cities can cause disease and kill these creatures as well.

But most importantly, the burning of fossil fuels has warmed the planet. And Earth's oceans have absorbed the majority of that heat, about 90% of it so far. 

As waters rapidly warm, corals lose the components that give them color and help them produce food, a process called bleaching. That slows their growth and makes them vulnerable to algae, disease, and death. Increased ocean acidification caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide causes bleaching, too.

It's these bleaching events that have rapidly wiped out so much of the Great Barrier Reef. The same conditions can be seen in the Caribbean and other sites around the world.

At present rates, it's expected that by 2030, 60% of all coral reefs are expected to be highly or critically threatened, and 98% of reefs will be exposed to potentially fatal conditions every year.

It's possible that coral reefs around the world could be mostly wiped out by 2050 or soon after.

As the authors wrote in the recent Great Barrier Reef study, these processes are likely to continue — and they'll totally transform ocean ecosystems.

"The most likely scenario, therefore, is that coral reefs throughout the tropics will continue to degrade over the current century until climate change stabilizes, allowing remnant populations to reorganize into novel, heat-tolerant reef assemblages," the authors wrote.

In other words, reefs as we know them – and the habitats and greater ecosystems they support — will be gone. What'll remain are areas or corals that happen to be abnormally tolerant of heat or acid. But coral reefs overall won't be the same and whatever does survive likely won't be able to make up for the lost functions.

A last ditch effort to save reefs?

Around the world, scientists are trying to come up with ways to save reefs.

Efforts include identifying coral that's particularly resilient to heat or acidity, and pioneering ways to quickly regrow coral so that dying reefs can be re-populated.

Coral 2x1
Courtesy Mote Marine Laboratory

Scientists involved in this work have achieved impressive results: in some cases they've recreating coral organisms that originally took a century or two to grow in just a few years.

Other researchers are looking at ways to breed super-corals. On the Great Barrier Reef, researchers have been able to replant coral larvae in some sections after collecting eggs and sperm.

But as demonstrated by the massive die-offs at the largest reef system in the planet, these sorts of efforts won't be enough to save the world's reefs without dealing with the larger carbon emissions problem. Individual efforts can't keep up when 50% of the world's biggest reef system dies in just a couple of years.

As the researchers wrote in their new paper, the important question is when climate change could stabilize. If humans make that happen soon, more reef systems will be able to be preserved. Then — using these sorts of regrowing techniques — they could eventually be restored to some degree.

But if climate change isn't stabilized soon, the authors wrote, "[t]he large-scale loss of functionally diverse corals is a harbinger of further radical shifts in the condition and dynamics of all ecosystems, reinforcing the need for risk assessment of ecosystem collapse."

In other words, if we don't deal with the problem soon, we should think about what widespread ocean ecosystem collapse will look like and mean for humanity.

In that type of scenario, cities will lose their protection against big storm surges, fishing and tourism industries could be eliminated, and the ocean may become largely lifeless or at least extremely transformed.

As Crosby said, the consequences from that bleak transformation could be more severe than most of us can imagine.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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