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Posted Fri Jul 30 2010: from LiveScience, via DesdemonaDespair:
Oceans May Be Primed for Mass Extinction
The Gulf and the rest of the world's waters also face the uncertain and potentially devastating effects of climate change. Warming ocean temperatures reduce the water's oxygen content, and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is altering the basic chemistry of the ocean, making it more acidic. There is no shortage of evidence that both of these effects have begun to wreak havoc on certain important creatures.... "Today the synergistic effects of human impacts are laying the groundwork for a comparably great Anthropocene mass extinction in the oceans, with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences...". When it comes to the oceans, research shows a parallel to the Permian-Triassic extinction -- also known as the Great Dying -- which eradicated 95 percent of marine species when the oceans lost their oxygen about 250 million years ago. The same phenomenon is taking place in many areas of today's oceans.... "If current trends continue, the extinctions of the coming decades will be clearly visible to future geologists comparable in scale to the great extinction events in Earth's history," he wrote. "I think it will be an enigmatic extinction. Future geologists will try to figure out why we apparently tried to kill off so many species, but they will find it hard to believe that simple reason is stupidity."
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, ocean warming, dead zones, hunting to extinction, stupid humans]
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