News Stories

Dead Zones

There may not be much for dinner soon, even in wealthy countries. fish are dying off due to "dead zones" caused by global warming.

As global warming makes the oceans warmer, oxygen-deprived regions are getting bigger. They are caused when microscopic algae accumulate rapidly in dense concentrations, usually due to run off from fertilizer? These areas are known as "red tides" or "dead zones" because fish can't survive there.

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego say these phenomena remain unpredictable in not only where they appear, but how long they persist. While not all of them are harmful, some blooms carry toxins that have been known to threaten marine ecosystems and kill not only fish, but marine mammals and birds.

In BBC News, Richard Black reports that it's not just that dead zones have chased away the fish. Declining stocks of fish, especially cod, are one of the CAUSES of the toxic algae blooms. He quotes researcher Michele Casini as saying, "Right now, in the last 30 years, cod have been the top predators in the Baltic, after populations of seals and other marine mammals declined because of hunting."

Black writes, "As the cod population declined sharply from the early 1980s, the [fish] population rose, phytoplankton increased."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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