Marine Ecosystem

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The earth's oceans provide an enormous range of resources and affect the quality of life as we know it. The oceans cover approximately 70 percent of the surface of the earth and have a cyclical effect on weather, e.g. temperature, precipitation and air quality. Regardless of your views on global warming, the fact remains that humans have an impact on the marine ecosystems through waste from chemicals and debris polluting this vast renewable resource. Based upon current scientific evidence, emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to cause significant global climate change during the 21st century. Such climate change will create novel challenges for coastal and marine ecosystems that are already stressed from human development, land-use change, environmental pollution, and over-fishing. (Eileen Claussen, 2002)Ocean and coastal marine systems are also affected by changes in climate, through increases or decreases in water levels. When water levels are altered naturally or unnaturally, nutrients and oxygen levels vital to the maintenance of marine organisms, are changed. A myriad of marine species including some birds, are impacted by the availability of marine food sources and will have long term implications regarding freshwater and seafood supply for humans as well as animals.

Due to increases in CO2 introduced into the atmosphere, resulting climate changes will cause additional stresses on oceanic circulation. CO2 levels have been estimated at double the earlier measurements of pre-industrial periods. These CO2 increases also lower the pH in ocean waters, thus creating negative effects on the organisms' habitat. Add to this, the level of oxygen being reduced in the water and the biochemical changes, marine and aquatic species are forced to migrate for survival or potentially be eliminated.

Acid rain is caused by natural sources, such as, volcano eruptions and decaying vegetation, as well as unnatural sources from auto and industrial



References: About (2008). A Discordant Sea: Global Warming and its Effect on Marine Population. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from http://geography.about.com/od/geographyintern/a/globalmarine.htmAcid Rain. (2007, June Friday). Retrieved Feb. Wed., 2010, from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/what/index.htmlBurke, L. (2005). Technical Notes on the Reefs at Risk. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from http://pdf.wri.org/technote_belize_reefs_threat_analysis.pdfEileen Claussen, P. (2002). Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. Pew Center. Nutall, N. (n.d.). Overfishing: a threat to marine biodiversity. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyID=800World Resources Institute. (n.d.). Projects in People & Ecosystems. Retrieved from http://www.wri.org/projects/ecosystems

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