An Australian marine scientist is sounding the alarm about the spread of large, dead zones in the ocean.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of the University of Queensland and the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS), says there is growing evidence that declining oxygen levels in the ocean have played a major role in at least four of the planet's five past mass extinctions.
With the number of dead zones having grown to more than 400 during the period of 2000-08, some are now as large as 70,000 square kilometers in size.
Noting the link between these oxygen-depleted zones and climate change as well as human activities such as agricultural runoff, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg stated that their presence can change things like the degree of mixing that goes on between surface and deep waters.
Concerned about the effect of these alterations, he said, “… The point is that our activities on land have a big influence on what goes on in the oceans and now we are starting to reap the harvest of those changes.
We are starting to see changes in the ocean's ability to produce oxygen and … food and … all of the ecosystem services that are so important to not only us, but all of the other organisms on the planet.”
Our thanks Professor Hoegh-Guldberg and all scientists working to understand the link between declining ocean life and climate change. May such alarming news prompt us to adopt sustainable lifestyles while we still have a chance.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the dead zone problem and reminded of the way to restore the seas and the planet.