Ocean Heat Waves Are Killing Coral Reefs and the Species That Depend on Them

You might be surprised to hear thatrising ocean temperatures are starting to pose a major risk to marine species, asthis study published in Nature reports. After all,marine ecology differsfrom terrestrial ecology– especially considering that oceans generally don’texperience weather, or “heat waves.”

The world’s oceans make for a massive heat sink. It takes a lot toalterocean temperature, and this slow rate of change has enabled marine ecosystems to maintain more stability than land-based ecosystems.

But this stability may be temporary.Climate change has led to an increasing number of ocean “heat waves,” which scientists define as multi-day periods of abnormally high ocean temperatures. With higher frequency and longer duration, these heat waves are causing more damage to marine species.

And coral reef ecosystemsappear to be the most at-risk. Because coral is a keystone species that many other species depend on, ocean heat waves could have a widespread impact on marine biodiversity.

Coral belongs to a group of ancient animals that were around for nearly half-a-billion years before humansappeared, but they may not be around much longer.

Coralbears the brunt of everything from shifting pH tohypoxia– and now ocean heat waves. Sincecoralis anchored in place and unable to move to a more hospitable environment when conditions become dangerous,reefs remainat the mercy of local abiotic factors.

Human-caused changes in the marine environment — primarily related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, though other activities play a destructive role as well — are largely responsible for bleaching events, large-scale die-offs in coral reefs.

Scientist have recently confirmed that coral reefs are seeing ever slower and more uncertain recoveries. Because of their critical role in the ecosystem, the risk to coral reefs is also athreat to vast numbers of other ocean species — and ultimately to terrestrial ecosystems and human food stocks.

We’re at an extremely urgentturning pointfor marine conservation.If we don’t take drastic steps to avert disaster, there will be no going back.

Photo Credit: Sam Soffes/Unsplash

63 comments

KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Live exports and pollution of the oceans!
ON BOARD THE SHIP OF DEATH: GRIM FOOTAGE SHOWS SHEEP BOILING ALIVE ON A LIVE EXPORTS BOAT BEFORE WORKERS DRAG THEIR DISINTEGRATING CARCASSES ALONG THE DECK AND HURL THEM INTO THE SEA!! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5695837/On-board-ship-death-Grim-footage-shows-sheep-boiling-alive-live-exports-boat.html
>>> FOR 60 YEARS, CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ON LIVE EXPORT SHIPS HAS BEEN KEPT SECRET. Please sign this petition - https://secure.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/live-export-shipboard-cruelty/?ua_s=e-share >>>> Also, please email the Australian Department of Agriculture & Water Resources to express your disgust with the Australian government for allowing the continuation of Live Exports. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/contactus

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Live exports and pollution of the oceans!
ON BOARD THE SHIP OF DEATH: GRIM FOOTAGE SHOWS SHEEP BOILING ALIVE ON A LIVE EXPORTS BOAT BEFORE WORKERS DRAG THEIR DISINTEGRATING CARCASSES ALONG THE DECK AND HURL THEM INTO THE SEA!! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5695837/On-board-ship-death-Grim-footage-shows-sheep-boiling-alive-live-exports-boat.html
>>> FOR 60 YEARS, CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ON LIVE EXPORT SHIPS HAS BEEN KEPT SECRET. Please sign this petition - https://secure.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/live-export-shipboard-cruelty/?ua_s=e-share >>>> Also, please email the Australian Department of Agriculture & Water Resources to express your disgust with the Australian government for allowing the continuation of Live Exports. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/contactus

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Live exports and pollution of the oceans!
ON BOARD THE SHIP OF DEATH: GRIM FOOTAGE SHOWS SHEEP BOILING ALIVE ON A LIVE EXPORTS BOAT BEFORE WORKERS DRAG THEIR DISINTEGRATING CARCASSES ALONG THE DECK AND HURL THEM INTO THE SEA!! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5695837/On-board-ship-death-Grim-footage-shows-sheep-boiling-alive-live-exports-boat.html
>>> FOR 60 YEARS, CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ON LIVE EXPORT SHIPS HAS BEEN KEPT SECRET. Please sign this petition - https://secure.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/live-export-shipboard-cruelty/?ua_s=e-share
>>>> Also, please email the Australian Department of Agriculture & Water Resources to express your disgust with the Australian government for allowing the continuation of Live Exports. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/contactus

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Live exports and pollution of the oceans!
ON BOARD THE SHIP OF DEATH: GRIM FOOTAGE SHOWS SHEEP BOILING ALIVE ON A LIVE EXPORTS BOAT BEFORE WORKERS DRAG THEIR DISINTEGRATING CARCASSES ALONG THE DECK AND HURL THEM INTO THE SEA!! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5695837/On-board-ship-death-Grim-footage-shows-sheep-boiling-alive-live-exports-boat.html
>>> FOR 60 YEARS, CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ON LIVE EXPORT SHIPS HAS BEEN KEPT SECRET. Please sign this petition - https://secure.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/live-export-shipboard-cruelty/?ua_s=e-share >>>> Also, please email the Australian Department of Agriculture & Water Resources to express your disgust with the Australian government for allowing the continuation of Live Exports. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/contactus

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

We`re creating Hell on Earth : -(

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

From 1930 the world population has risen from 2 to over 7.6 billion today. We are destroying the world`s natural habitats at an astounding rate, mostly for food production. Our roads, hospitals, schools, and houses are increasingly cramped. Resource usage per person increases every decade, while our total numbers continue to rush upwards. ALL energy efficiency gains go towards accommodating ever-increasing numbers of people.
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR SPREADING THE WORD: NO MORE THAN 2 CHILDREN PER FAMILY.
Please view - https://www.populationmatters.org/
World Population Clock - http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/
>>>>>>ANIMAL AGRICULTURE is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction and is used to grow food for billions of suffering factory farmed animals. FACTORY FARMING is devastating the environment, causing extinctions, ocean dead zones and pollutes more than all other industrial sources combined.

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

From 1930 the world population has risen from 2 to over 7.6 billion today. We are destroying the world`s natural habitats at an astounding rate, mostly for food production. Our roads, hospitals, schools, and houses are increasingly cramped. Resource usage per person increases every decade, while our total numbers continue to rush upwards. ALL energy efficiency gains go towards accommodating ever-increasing numbers of people.
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR SPREADING THE WORD: NO MORE THAN 2 CHILDREN PER FAMILY.
Please view - https://www.populationmatters.org/
World Population Clock - http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

ANIMAL AGRICULTURE is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction and is used to grow food for billions of suffering factory farmed animals. FACTORY FARMING is devastating the environment, causing extinctions, ocean dead zones and pollutes more than all other industrial sources combined.

SEND
Dot A
Dot A5 months ago

This subject proves once again that a river in Africa exists: named Denial. (the Nile) For some people even solid facts aren't sufficient to make a difference in what they choose to believe. My Aunt, Bless her heart, almost passed out when I said the word, "evolution." To her, such nonsense was an abomination. If we study the Earth's changes it is obvious that our climate has always been in a state of fluctuation. However, with human population in the billions, and all the chemicals used for nearly everything we do nowadays, the climate change has accelerate beyond healthy sustainability, especially in the rapidly approaching future. Apparently, it will take some frogs boiling to make the point a reality. Some folks live by what touches their lives in a very personal way. Others, study, investigate, compare, question, doubt, observe, seek truths, and try to comprehend greater truths than just what is in their own back yard, or what's cooking for dinner. Somehow, we hope and pray that we survive earth's most dangerous creature: - homo sapiens.

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