The latest studies and research show that the world’s ocean is at the verge of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history. The research has further concluded that the speed and rate of degeneration in the ocean is far faster than anyone has predicted.
Many of the negative impacts previously identified are greater than the worst predictions.
Every species, either small or large, play a vital role in maintaining a well balanced ecosystem. Hence the loss of any species can be detrimental to the ecosystem.
Various studies show that regional ecosystems such as estuaries, coral reefs, and coastal and oceanic fish communities are undergoing rapid losses whether in individuals or whole species.
It is quite apparent that human activity has greatly contributed to species extinction. A major factor for aquatic species extinction is killing by humans for reasons such as food, recreation and many more. Habitat destruction which includes biological, physical and chemical factors is also largely responsible for the extinction of aquatic species. Here are some examples habitat destruction:
- Trawl fishing
- Commercial development and construction
- Structures for water diversion
- Coastal engineering
- Ocean acidification
- Organic waste
- High concentration of heavy metals
- Plastics and particles
Climate change such as global warming has increased local water temperatures beyond the suitable range of many species. Such changes have led to alterations in the food web which in turn have made productive areas such as welling regions less productive. Scientists also suggest that pollutants including flame retardant chemicals and synthetic musks are being traced in the Polar Seas, and that these chemicals can be absorbed by tiny particles in the ocean which are in turn ingested by marine creatures.
Species extinction is causing disturbance in marine species biodiversity. An important approach to protect marine ecosystems is Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that are established in order to protect the richness of marine life and the environment. Species extinction can be avoided through integrated control and maintenance of habitats. Crucial habitats can be maintained by limiting physical activities such as fishing and coastal construction.