Energy & Environment

Study: Oceans will lose one-sixth of marine life from current greenhouse gas emissions

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Marine life decreases by 5 percent with every 1 degree Celsius increase in the temperature of the oceans, according to a study released Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The study projects a 17 percent loss of marine biomass by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions stay at the present rate, the Associated Press reports.  

The projected biomass decrease does not include the effects of fishing, according to the study.

Julia Baum, a biology professor at at University of Victoria, told the AP the potential ramifications of marine life loss are huge, noting people around the world rely on ocean resources. 

“Climate change has the potential to cause serious new conflicts over ocean resource use and global food security, particularly as human population continues to grow this century,” Baum said. {mosads}

Other reports have previously predicted reduction in ocean life, but study co-author William Cheung, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia, told the AP this is a more comprehensive look at the current situation by using six different computer models. 

Study co-author Derek Tittensor, a marine ecologist at the United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center in England, told the AP that the ocean’s biggest animals will be hit the hardest. 

Study co-author Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Canada, told the AP the “good news” is the decline will be less heavy in smaller organisms that are “the main building blocks of marine life,” such as plankton and bacteria. 

“The bad news is that those marine animals that we use directly, and care about most deeply, are predicted to suffer the most as climate change is working its way up the food chain,” Worm added. 

Tags Biomass Climate change Fishing marine biology

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