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Posted Thu Jul 29 2010: from New Scientist:
Phytoplankton [and more] in decline: bye bye food chain
Ocean life is being wiped out from the bottom up. The global population of microscopic plants that float in ocean water and support most marine life has declined by 1 per cent every year since 1899.... Whatever the cause, it's a remarkably bad piece of news, because although phytoplankton are neither glamorous nor cute, the entire ocean food chain depends on them.... [Corals] are threatened by changing ocean temperatures and ocean acidification, both triggered by humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. [Key saproxylic beetles in] Europe, at least, 24 per cent are under threat, and we would miss them if they went. Similarly, insects such as butterflies and bees that pollinate plants are probably in decline (though the data are far from complete). And fungi have barely been assessed at all, but along with bacteria they are the organisms that do the lion's share of decomposition, which is whiffy but essential. In other words, never mind the pandas: it's plankton, bugs and fungi you should be worrying about.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, ocean warming, massive die-off]

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'Doc Michael says:
We are the food chain's weakest link.

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