Tag Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

Marine mammals most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic


A pod of narwhals from northern Canada. Captions and Photo source: ©© Kristin Laidre / NOAA

Excerpts;

In recent decades parts of the Arctic seas have become increasingly ice-free in late summer and early fall. As sea ice is expected to continue to recede due to climate change, seasonal ship traffic from tourism and freight is projected to rise.

A study from the University of Washington and the University of Alaska Fairbanks is the first to consider potential impacts on the marine mammals that use this region during fall and identify which will be most vulnerable…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (07-02-2018)

Study: Why Blue Whales Can’t Avoid Barges, Ocean Liners, Huffington Green (05-06-2015)
A new study reveals why ocean-going ships pose such a big threat to the whales: the gentle giants simply don’t know how to get out of the way…

World Must Tackle the Biggest Killer of Whales – and it’s not Whaling; IPS News (10-24-2016)

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Super-sized ships: How big can they get? Independent (10-21-2014)
Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years…

Worldwide Ship Traffic Up 300 Percent Since 1992, AGU (11-29-2014)
Maritime traffic on the world’s oceans has increased four-fold over the past 20 years, likely causing more water, air and noise pollution on the open seas, according to a new study quantifying global ship traffic…

Ship engine emissions adversely affect the health of inhabitants of coastal regions; Science Daily (07-19-2016)
Ship emissions adversely affect the health of inhabitants of coastal regions. This was the main finding of a study on the influence of ship engine emissions on macrophages in the lungs. Since macrophages also play a key role in lung diseases such as COPD, the study is important for understanding the health risks of ship exhausts…

Larger marine animals at higher risk of extinction, and humans are to blame, Science Daily (09-14-2016)
In today’s oceans, larger-bodied marine animals are more likely to become extinct than smaller creatures, according to a Stanford-led report. It’s a pattern that is unprecedented in the history of life on Earth, and one that is likely driven by human fishing…

How one man died so a whale might live


Photo courtesy of Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

Humans have spent more than 10 centuries emptying the ocean of some of its most extraordinary animals. Today, a coalition of scientists and fishermen are trying to turn the tide – and learning that conservation is much harder than destruction…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (06-20-2018)

Like human societies, whales value culture and family ties; PhysOrg (04-05-2018)

World Must Tackle the Biggest Killer of Whales – and it’s not Whaling; IPS News (10-24-2016)

Study: Why Blue Whales Can’t Avoid Barges, Ocean Liners, Huffington Green (05-06-2015)
A new study reveals why ocean-going ships pose such a big threat to the whales: the gentle giants simply don’t know how to get out of the way…

Larger marine animals at higher risk of extinction, and humans are to blame, Science Daily (09-14-2016)
In today’s oceans, larger-bodied marine animals are more likely to become extinct than smaller creatures, according to a Stanford-led report. It’s a pattern that is unprecedented in the history of life on Earth, and one that is likely driven by human fishing…

Are humans to blame for mass whale strandings? by Philip Hoare, Guardian UK (05-20-2011)

European fishermen mobilize against electric fishing


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Small-scale and traditional fishermen across the European Union are mobilizing in several European ports this Monday to complain against electric fishing and to call on public decision-makers to definitively ban this destructive fishing technique.

These fishermen — from Belgium, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands — have decided to act with several NGOs to denounce a fishing method which is destroying the marine environment as surely as it is threatening their very economic survival…

Read Full Article; FIS (06-18-2018)

Whale found In Thailand dies from eating over 80 plastic bags


“When plastic ingestion occurs, it blocks the digestive tract, gets lodged in animals windpipes cutting airflow causing suffocation, or fills the stomach, resulting in malnutrition, starvation and potentially death. Indeed, it is found that debris often accumulates in the animals’ gut and give a false sense of fullness, causing the animal to stop eating and slowly starve to death.” —Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Rescuers unsuccessfully tried to nurse the male pilot whale back to health.

A necropsy revealed over 17 pounds of plastic, including more than 80 plastic bags, in the whale’s stomach…

Read Full Article; Huffington Green (06-03-2018)

Whale found dying off coast of Norway with 30 plastic bags in its stomach; Telegraph UK (02-03-2017)

Kenya: Marine debris threaten to suffocate sea animals; The Star Kenya (01-24-2017)
Marine researchers spotted a dolphin suffocating in a plastic bag last week in Watamu, Kenya. The incident, the first to be witnessed there, has raised concern on the safety of the millions of sea animals in the Indian Ocean waters due to the increased cases of plastic waste.

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures; Guardian UK (11-15-2017)
The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes…

60% of Loggerhead Turtles Stranded on Beaches in South Africa Had Ingested Plastic, EcoWatch (05-031-2016)

The Plastic Found In a Single Turtle’s Stomach, Independent UK (03-24-2011)

90 Percent of Seabirds Have Plastic in Their Stomachs, Newsweek (09-01-2015)
By 2050, nearly all seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs. Already, 9 out of 10 of the birds have some of the substance in their digestive tracts. Such are the sobering conclusions of a study published August 31 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

Great Barrier Reef Corals Eat Plastic; Science Daily (02-27-2015)
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution. Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic in the environment and are a widespread contaminant in marine ecosystems, particularly in inshore coral reefs…

Taste, not appearance, drives corals to eat plastics; Duke University (10-24-2017)

New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions; United Nations (12-05-2016)
Marine debris is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species and causing serious losses to many countries’ economies, according to a United Nations report launched December 5th, 2016…

Whale and shark species at increasing risk from microplastic pollution – study; Guardian UK (02-05-2018)
Whales, some sharks and other marine species such as rays are increasingly at risk from microplastics in the oceans, a new study published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, suggests…

Video captures moment plastic enters food chain, BBC News (03-11-2017)
A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves. The footage shows one way that plastic waste could be entering the marine and global food chain…

Brain damage in fish from plastic nanoparticles in water, Science Daily (09-25-2017)
A new study shows that plastic particles in water may end up inside fish brains. The plastic can cause brain damage, which is the likely cause of behavioral disorders observed in the fish…

Plastic Waste Causes $13 Billion In Annual Damage To Marine Ecosystems, UN
Concern is growing over widespread plastic waste that is threatening marine life – with conservative yearly estimates of $13 billion in financial damage to marine ecosystems, according to two reports issued at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

Plastic Pollution: When The Mermaids Cry, The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the world’s oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land…

Shipping and Industry Threaten Famed Home of the Bengal Tiger

tiger-mangrove
Sundarbans. Photo source: ©© Arindam Bhattacharya

Excerpts;

Toxic chemical pollution in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is threatening thousands of marine and forest species and has environmentalists deeply concerned about the future of this World Heritage Site.

Repeated mishaps have already dumped toxic materials like sulfur, hydrocarbons, chorine, magnesium, potassium, arsenic, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium, beryllium, barium, cadmium, chromium, selenium, radium and many more into the waters. They’re killing plankton – a microscopic organism critical for the survival of marine life inside the wild forest.

Scientific studies warn the sudden drastic fall in the plankton population may affect the entire food chain in the Sundarbans in the near future, starving the life in the rivers and in the forest.

The latest incident involved the sinking of a coal-loaded cargo ship on April 14 deep inside the forest, popularly known as the home of the endangered Royal Bengal Tigers, once again outraging environmentalists…

Read Full Article; IPS News (05-19-2018)

A new power plant could devastate the world’s largest mangrove forest; The Washington Post (07-18-2016)
The planet’s largest mangrove forest could be facing serious trouble in the form of two new coal-fired power plants, environmentalists say — and they’re urging the United Nations to draw greater attention to the issue…

How Not to Love Nature: Shove a Coal Plant Next to Earth’s Biggest Mangrove Forest; World Time (10-06-2013)
Tigers have long provided the best defense for Bangladesh’s Sundarbans National Park, the planet’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage site. These days, however, environmentalists are alarmed by a more insidious threat to the park’s future: a massive 1,320-MW coal-fired power plant that’s due to be constructed just 14 km away, in the city of Rampal…

Maersk in hot water for sending ships to notorious scrapping beaches; CPH Post Denmark, (10-17-2016)
While outwardly against the procedure, 14 ships of the Danish oil and shipping company Maersk, were being broken up on open beaches in India and Bangladesh…

The Ship-Breakers, National Geographic (05-2014)
In Bangladesh men desperate for work perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs…

Breaking Bad on the Beach, NASA / Earth Observatory (09-28-2014)
Tens of thousands of ships ply the world’s oceans, bays, and rivers. But what happens when those ships have become too old or too expensive to operate? In most cases, they end up on the shores of Asia…literally…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things

komodo-plastic
Although uninhabited by people, and remote, Komodo island’s beaches are covered with plastic. Indonesian National Park of the Komodo. Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (05-21-2018)

Original Study: “The biomass distribution on Earth,” Pnas (05-21-2018)

Scale of human impact on planet has changed course of Earth’s history, scientists suggest; Science Daily (10-02-2017)
The significant scale of human impact on our planet has changed the course of Earth history, an international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has suggested…

The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age; Guardian UK (08-29-2016)
Experts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete were now under consideration…

Anthropocene Period Would Recognize Humanity’s Impact on Earth, Science Daily (07-11-2013)
The Anthropocene is the name of a proposed new geological time period that may soon enter the official Geologic Time Scale. The Anthropocene is defined by the human influence on Earth, where we have become a geological force shaping the global landscape and evolution of our planet…

Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces, Guardian UK (02-12-2017)
For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces…

Adapt or die: Can evolution outrun climate change?


Galapagos. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Across the planet, animal and plant species are on the run. A rapidly changing climate is shifting when and where plants blossom, and forcing creatures big and small to migrate and learn new tactics for survival.

It’s a trend that’s likely to accelerate as scientists expect to see more extreme weather events — intensifying storms and droughts, and greater temperature fluctuations on land and sea. To understand the impact, researchers are flocking to a unique, living lab: the Galapagos Islands…

Read Full Article; CBS News (05-20-2018)

Ecuador creates Galápagos marine sanctuary to protect sharks; Guardian UK (03-21-2016)

Shocking Study Shows One Third of World’s Protected Areas Degraded by Human Activities


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A shocking study in the journal Science by the University of Queensland, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and University of Northern British Columbia confirms that one third of the world’s protected areas — an astonishing 2.3 million square miles or twice the size of the state of Alaska — are now under intense human pressure including road building, grazing, and urbanization…

Read Full Article; WCS (05-17-2018)

USGS Tracks How Hurricane Floodwaters Spread Non-Native Freshwater Plants and Animals


Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate may have spread non-native freshwater plants and animals into new water bodies, where some of them can disrupt living communities or change the landscape.

To help land managers find and manage these flood-borne newcomers, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have created four online maps, one for each hurricane. These “storm tracker” map sets, on which users can see the potential spread of any of 226 non-native aquatic plant and animal species during the 2017 hurricane season, are available at https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/Flooding/.

More than 1,270 freshwater aquatic species have been reported as found beyond their home ranges nationwide. Some have caused no obvious ill effects on their new habitats. Others, like the zebra mussels introduced into the Great Lakes, have caused damage to fisheries, shipping, water utilities and other industries.

Storm surges and floodwaters can quickly spread non-native aquatic species into waterways where they weren’t found before. They can even create temporary freshwater zones in saltwater environments, as Hurricane Harvey did in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, said biologist Pam Fuller, the leader of USGS’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program…

Read Full Article; USGS (04-23-2018)