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

South Atlantic humpback whales have rebounded from near extinction

After being hunted nearly to extinction in the early 20th century, a population of humpback whales in the southern Atlantic Ocean has almost entirely recovered, according to a new study.

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Scientists rush to rescue sea turtles threatened by mysterious Brazil oil spill

Crude oil has been washing up along a 1,200-mile stretch of coastline of the Brazilian northeast for over a month, leaving more than 150 of Brazil’s postcard-perfect beaches covered in thick, sludgy black patches. It is also along this coastline that olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles come to make their nests and lay their eggs.

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Simple changes in intensity of weather events ‘could be lethal’

Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up, with mixed results. A new model helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.

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Coasts in Peril? A Shoreline Health Perspective; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson

Most assessments of coastal vulnerability are undertaken from the perspective of the risk posed to humans, their property and activities. In this paper we present an alternative approach to coastal assessment that centers on the physical integrity of the coast and its associated ecosystems both now and in the near-future.

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A whale found dead, 3 others euthanized on South Carolina beach

Biologists will perform necropsies on one whale that died and three that were euthanized after becoming stranded on a South Carolina beach.

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We know they aren’t feeding’: fears for polar bears over shrinking Arctic ice

This year’s annual minimum of the Arctic sea ice tied with the second-lowest extent on record, a mere 1.6m sq miles, and badly affected polar bear populations that live and hunt on the north slope of Alaska, plus those that live on the ice floes in the Bering Sea.

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Fukushima: Japan will dump radioactive water into Pacific

The operator of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will have to dump huge quantities of contaminated water from the site directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister has said – a move that would enrage local fishermen.

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Congress Must Vote to Protect America’s Coasts, Oceans, and Marine Life from Offshore Drilling – NRDC

It is important our elected officials act now to protect our coast. The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on two bills that would permanently protect coastal communities across America from the dangers of reckless offshore oil and gas drilling and costly oil spills.

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A giant pumice stone floating in the Pacific could help heal Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

great-barrier-reef

A pumice “raft” the size of Manhattan is drifting towards Australia, bringing along with it new marine life that could help with the recovery of the Great Barrier Reef’s corals, half of which have been killed in recent years as a result of climate change.

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