What is the Marine Ecosystem?
Marine ecosystems are among the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems. It covers almost 70% of the earth’s surface. They include oceans, salt marsh and intertidal ecology, estuaries and lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs, the deep sea and the sea floor. They can be contrasted with freshwater ecosystems, which have a lower salt content.
Why is the Marine Ecosystem important?
Marine ecosystems are very important in to the overall health of both marine and terrestrial environments. According to the World Resources Centre, coastal habitats alone account for approximately 1/3 of all marine biological productivity, and estuarine ecosystems (i.e., salt marshes, sea grasses, mangrove forests) are among the most productive regions on the planet. In addition, other marine ecosystems such as coral reefs provide food and shelter to the highest levels of marine diversity in the world.
Causes of degradation of the Marine Ecology
Acidification of water
Acidification of water
Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Dissolving CO2 in seawater increases the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in the ocean, and thus decreases ocean pH. Acidification of water will harm calcareous animals and corals it can cause coral bleaching and can affect the propagation of sound shipping and the noise made by the ships will be louder and will more severely damage the hearing of marine animals such as dolphins, seals and whales.
Dumping of untreated sewage into the oceans pollutes it suffocates marine life as non biodegradables like plastic and Styrofoam prevent oxygen from getting dissolved in the water. The fertiliser runoffs from nearby farms and factories promote algal growth which absorbs a lot of dissolved oxygen and minerals from the water. It also gives out white coloured foam which is harmful to marine life.
Oil spills are a major threat not only to marine and aquatic animals but also to all animals and plants. Oil spills cut off the oxygen supply to the marine animals. Indigestion can cause death as the oil is toxic to the animals. It also chokes them if it enters their wind pipes. The oil covers the wings of birds making them unable to fly and susceptible to attacks. Around 20-25% of all oil spills are caused due to the excess oil from factories whic makes it way to the oceans. 5 of the Largest oil spills
Arabian Gulf Spills
Location: Persian Gulf
Ixtoc Oil Well
Location: Gulf of Mexico
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Location: 700 nautical miles from Angola (3,900 km)
Marine fisheries cause a lot of harm to all types of marine life. Overfishing is a major concern that has been expressed by the environmentalists. Millions of tonnes of fishes are caught every year most of which is not used. Though the fisheries usually fish for a certain type of fish and choose areas which have a large population of the fish, usually many different types of fish get entangled in the nets also many endangered animals like the leatherback turtles and blue fin tuna also get entangled sending them closer to extinction. Animals like seals and dolphins also get entangle in these nets. Bottom trawler fishing has been called the worst as it destroys the entire area all plants and animals are caught.
Corals are naturally white they seem coloured due to the presence of alga called zooxanthellae and a type of plankton called phytoplankton. Coral bleaching is the breakdown of a symbiotic relationship between phytoplankton or zooxanthellae and the coral. This symbiosis provides the coral with food for its survival. But corals can withstand only a certain...
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