While many people don’t personally witness the ramifications of climate change, marine life is starting to take a serious toll due to ocean deoxygenation. Today, more than 700 oceanic sites are suffering from oxygen loss. In comparison, ocean deoxygenation only affected 45 sites in the 1960s.
That’s not to mention ocean deoxygenation will even more greatly impact marine ecosystems with the most biodiversity. This immense increase in anoxic oceans has led to a bleak outlook on the future of our oceans. What does it all mean for marine life?
What The IUCN Report Says About Ocean Deoxygenation
A study that began in 2000, the IUCN released a report just yesterday named Ocean Deoxygenation: Everyone’s Problem. The title alone draws heavy focus to the underrepresented deoxygenation of the oceans.
More specifically, the carbon emissions that humans primarily create have led to reduced levels of oxygen in oceans.
Not just greenhouse gases, nutrient run-off from agriculture also decreases oxygen. Chemicals from everyday life pollute the sea every day and lead to eutrophication.
IUCN’s report indicated that climate change is affecting the most biodiverse regions of the ocean. Moreover, the deoxygenation will disrupt “basic processes.” This means that deoxygenation is disrupting the cycle of life and predator/prey relationships.
It’s a big problem because it could lead to the endangering of some species and overpopulation of other species.
Unfortunately, the researchers estimated that the oceans would lose 4% of its oxygen worldwide by 2100. Furthermore, they recommended that world leaders and politicians pay more attention to this growing problem.
The report noted that even with corrective actions, a lot of the damage done might be irreversible.
What Ocean Deoxygenation Means For Marine Life
Ocean deoxygenation will primarily affect areas with high biodiversity. That is, it’s driving all of the high-energy fish to shallower waters. This is because the deeper parts of the ocean are starving for oxygen.
The high-energy consuming fish, the tuna and sharks of the ocean, will have higher chances of being overfished.
While the population of the fish that we depend on dwindles, the jellyfish and microbes that stay in the deeper parts will flourish.
Mainly because their predators have fled for more oxygenated areas, the overpopulation of these microbes will occur. “If we run out of oxygen it will mean habitat loss and biodiversity loss and a slippery slope down to slime and more jellyfish,” said Minna Epps from IUCN.
It’s Everyone’s Problem To Solve
The effects of climate change are now a reality. The bleak report put out by IUCN illustrates the overarching problems and what can be done.
While corrective methods may prove to be less than efficient, an attempt must be made. Climate change won’t just stop at our oceans; it’ll affect every part of nature. Ocean deoxygenation is everyone’s problem to solve.
And the least we can do is not pollute our oceans.