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

The Pearl, Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island spanning approximately 1.5 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), extends from the mainland, and once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometers of new coastline.

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Estuaries may experience accelerated impacts of human-caused CO2

Rising anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have up to twice the impact on coastal estuaries as it does in the oceans because the human-caused CO2 lowers the ecosystem’s ability to absorb natural fluctuations of the greenhouse gas, a new study suggests.

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Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

University of Exeter researchers studied the impact of bottlenose dolphins on fisheries off northern Cyprus and said Mediterranean overfishing had created a “vicious cycle” of dolphins and fishers competing for dwindling stocks.

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Students Dig Into Decades of Turtle Data

More than three decades’ worth of information is, for the first time, being pieced together to tell a story of sea turtle nesting habits on Bald Head Island’s shores.

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This Could Be the ‘Beginning of the End’ for North Atlantic Right Whales

Researchers who have been observing migrating North Atlantic right whales, which are endangered, are troubled by what they found this season: no sign of any newborns.

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South-east Asia closes island beaches to recover from climate change and tourism

More popular South-east Asian islands will be off limits to visitors this year as officials seek to protect eco-systems crumbling from warming seas and unchecked sprawl, despite the risk to tourism revenues and tens of thousands of jobs.

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Rescuers scramble to help beached whales after mass stranding in Australia

More than 140 short-finned pilot whales died after a mass stranding on a beach in Western Australia.

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Key Biological Mechanism is Disrupted by Ocean Acidification

A team led by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has demonstrated that the excess carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels interferes with the health of phytoplankton which form the base of marine food webs.

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The Sculpting of Ebro Delta

Just over 200 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, Spain’s largest river meets the Mediterranean Sea and creates the Ebro Delta. At 350 square kilometers, the delta is the fourth largest on the Mediterranean. It is an important wetland ecosystem and a productive agricultural area. Yet, humans, who indirectly drove the growth of the delta over the past 2100 years, are today starving the delta.

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