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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

World Oceans Day

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, June 9, 2015/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change

,Declared by the United Nations,  World Oceans Day  is here. It arrives none too soon.

The list of sustainable ocean services is long:

productive fisheries; influencing climate and weather; driving the world's hydrological cycles as a source of wonder, beauty, and spiritual renewal; not to mention that nearly 70% of the Earth's oxygen is produced by marine micro-organisms

while another list of environmental abuses is long as well:

overfishing; endangered species collecting; agricultural and industrial chemical pollution creating marine 'dead zones'; ocean acidification from atmospheric CO2 production; plastics from ocean dumping entering the marine food chain; destruction of coral reefs; and conversion of protective coastal mangroves.

A recent report published in  Science Magazine  details predicted ecosystem-scale alterations this century due to climate change that will have "the combined effects of (ocean) warming and O2 (depletion) are projected to reduce the upper ocean’s metabolic index by ~20% globally and by ~50% in northern high-latitude regions, forcing poleward and vertical contraction of metabolically viable habitats and species ranges."   translation: entire groups of northern hemisphere marine species could be forced from their current habitats to migrate into new habitats they may not find suitable.

     
                 
Protected Golaith Grouper, US Virgin Islands (credit: Virgin Island National Park)

A variety of innovative actions have been planned for World Oceans Day including: classroom projects for grade school kids; a  hackers workshop  to create computer applications for sustainable fisheries management; and a project by Google on Australia's  Great Barrier Reef .

The digital search giant has been applying their  Streetview  gear to map iconic reef locations for environmental monitoring. In partnership with the   Catlin Seaview Survey , NOAA's  marine sanctuaries  office, and the  Chagos Trust , Google's underwater maps will offer the ability for a user to gain almost direct access to some of the most beautiful marine environments anywhere. The GBR and other coral reef systems are some some of the most threatened by one stress or another.

A cool video shows what Streeview's project will produce:



The oceans have sustained us for millennia and with proper knowledge and attention they can continue to do so. Let's hope World Oceans Day produces positive actions everywhere to protect and restore the seas.

WHB
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