Ecosystem Destruction

Massive sand tubes being constructed in Walton County, Florida Massive sand tubes being constructed in Walton County, Florida under the ecologically-appealing euphemism of "dune enhancement devices." Photo: Gary Appleson, Caribbean Conservation Corporation.

A variety of threatened or endangered organisms use the beach as a vital part of their life cycle. The nearshore ecosystem extends from the meiofauna that exist between sand grains to the carnivorous fish that roam the surf zone.

Components include birds that feed and nest on the beach such as the piping plover (US east coast) and various turtles that lay their eggs here. The first steps in protecting birds, turtle nests and the rest of this ecosystem must be the protection of a natural, un-engineered beach.

Another major threat to beach ecosystems around the world is the ever increasing human population in coastal areas. The global migration of people towards the coast causes competition between humans and other species and humans usually negatively impact other species. New construction in coastal communities destroys beach ecosystems with every parking lot paved, road expanded, or sand dune lost. This increase also puts a burden on sanitation systems, transportation networks, and increases pollution in these diverse ecosystems.


Surfing in / Ecosystem Destruction

Against the grain: anger grows at spike in ‘sand graffiti’ by tourists in Japan

Local authorities in Japan have drawn a line in the sand amid anger over a rise in graffiti by foreign tourists disfiguring its pristine coastal dunes.

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Dozens of gray whales are dying on the West Coast. What’s killing them?

At least 53 dead or dying gray whales have washed up on West Coast beaches this spring, a death rate that’s only been seen once before. The great mammals are starving to death and scientists have theories as to why but so far no full explanation. The number of deaths is likely much higher because it’s estimated that only 10% of dead whales actually end up on shore.

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Predicting Wave Wash Overs for Sea Turtle Nests

To better protect coastal species, researchers developed a model that predicts harmful wash overs with 83% accuracy.

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New data platform illuminates history of humans’ environmental impact

Animal remains found at archaeological sites tell the millennia-long story of how humans have hunted, domesticated and transported wildlife, altered landscapes and responded to environmental changes such as shifting temperatures and sea levels.Now, that story is available digitally through a new open-access data platform which links records of animals across biological and archaeological databases

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EU ‘outright dangerous’ in its use of natural resources, says WWF

Europe is using up natural resources so quickly that the planet’s ability to replenish itself over the year would be exhausted by this Friday if everyone consumed as much, a new analysis has found.

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Coastal recovery: bringing a damaged wetland back to life

An ambitious wetlands restoration project is underway on Delaware Bay, where scientists are using innovative methods to revive a badly damaged salt marsh. The project could be a model for other places seeking to make coastal wetlands more resilient to rising seas and worsening storms.

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One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns

The bonds that hold nature together may be at risk of unraveling from deforestation, overfishing, development, and other human activities, a landmark United Nations report warns. Thanks to human pressures, one million species may be pushed to extinction in the next few years, with serious consequences for human beings as well as the rest of life on Earth.

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What’s the future for Sri Lanka’s ‘lost’ population of whales?

Flocking tourists are making it less of a safe place for these stunning animals.

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Tapping fresh water under the ocean has consequences

Coastal communities may consider using offshore groundwater resources as populations increase and the limited freshwater resources are degraded by overuse and pollution, but new research suggests tapping into them could lead to adverse impacts onshore.

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