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

What makes this New Zealand beach a whale graveyard?

Each year locals from Golden Bay at the top of New Zealand’s South Island know to expect a whale beaching at a narrow strip of sand curving into the Cook Strait, known as Farewell Spit.

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650 whales stranded on New Zealand coast

A new pod of 240 whales swam aground at a remote New Zealand beach on Saturday just hours after weary volunteers managed to refloat a different group of whales following an earlier mass stranding. In total, more than 650 pilot whales have beached themselves along a 5 kilometer (3 mile) stretch of coastline over two days on Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island.

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Warm Pacific water blamed for vast seabird die-off

A year after tens of thousands of common murres, an abundant North Pacific seabird, starved and washed ashore on beaches from California to Alaska, researchers have pinned the cause to unusually warm ocean temperatures that affected the tiny fish they eat.

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More than 400 whales beach themselves in New Zealand

New Zealand volunteers formed a human chain in the water at a remote beach on Friday as they raced to save dozens of whales after more than 400 of the creatures beached themselves in one of the worst whale strandings in the nation’s history.

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How Natural World Heritage Sites Are Being Spoiled

When a place is designated a Natural World Heritage Site, it is a recognition that it has “outstanding universal value” and must be protected. But a new study shows many of these sites are being severely damaged by human activity and are deteriorating rapidly.

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As Climate Change Accelerates, Floating Cities Look Like Less of a Pipe Dream

A plan to respond to climate change by building a city of floating islands in the South Pacific is moving forward, with the government of French Polynesia agreeing to consider hosting the islands in a tropical lagoon. But the project has critics in French Polynesia and beyond.

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Philippines rejects underwater theme park

Environment minister says she will not allow US TV network Nickelodeon to build park on pristine Palawan island. Conservation groups call Palawan the country’s “last ecological frontier” because of its relatively untouched coastlines and forests, which are among the oldest and most diverse in south-east Asia.

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Warmer West Coast ocean conditions linked to increased risk of toxic shellfish

Hazardous levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin that accumulates in shellfish, have been linked to warmer ocean conditions in waters off Oregon and Washington for the first time by a NOAA-supported research team, led by Oregon State University scientists.

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U.S. agency says no to requests for ocean surveys with airguns

Federal officials have turned down six applications to use airguns to look for undersea sites that might yield oil and natural gas up and down the East Coast, on the ground that the risks to marine life outweigh the potential benefits of seismic surveying along the Outer Continental Shelf.

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