Marine life faces large-scale extinction riskAugust 22nd, 2012 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS
Sydney, Aug 22 (IANS) Marine life faces far greater risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, world’s leading marine scientists have warned.
Researchers from Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and Britain compared events which drove massive marine life extinctions in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today.
“We wanted to understand what had driven past extinctions of sea life and see how much of those conditions prevailed today,” said study co-author John Pandolfi, professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, an authority on the fate of coral reefs in previous mass extinction events.
“It is very useful to look back in time - because if you forget your history, you’re liable to repeat it,” said Pandolfi, the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution reports.
Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were linked with global warming and acidification of the oceans - trends which also apply today, according to an ARC statement.
Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from sea water, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing - or a combination of these factors.
“Currently, the earth is again in a period of increased extinctions and extinction risks, this time mainly caused by human factors,” the scientists said.
In the ‘Great Death’ during the Permian period 250 million years ago, for example, an estimated 95 percent of marine species died out due to a combination of warming, acidification, loss of oxygen and habitat.
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- Coral reefs will survive ravages of warming: Scientists - Apr 17, 2012
- Ancient corals provide hope that reefs may survive global warming - Mar 02, 2010
- Acidic oceans endangering baby corals - Apr 19, 2012
- Marine researchers call for international effort to save coral reefs - Oct 08, 2010
- 75 percent of world's coral reefs under threat: report - Feb 24, 2011
- How climate change and pollution affect ocean chemistry - Jun 20, 2010
- Humans increasingly poisoned by reef fish - Sep 11, 2012
- Mercury behind earth's last extinction - Jan 06, 2012
- CO2 threatens fish's very survival in oceans - Jan 16, 2012
- Fish learn to cope with high CO2 in oceans - Jul 03, 2012
- 'Stress test' to identify 'reefs of hope' in climate change era - Mar 23, 2011
Tags: acidification, canada germany, centre of excellence, coral reef, coral reefs, ecology and evolution, extinction risk, extinctions, habitat loss, history world, marine scientists, marine species, mass extinction events, pandolfi, permian period, reef studies, sea life, sea water, seas and oceans, water pollution