Is there Hope for Our Aquatic World

Posted by

Is there Hope for Our Aquatic World

Is there Hope for Our Aquatic World, or are we just going to screw it up?

Pederson Shrimp

Pederson Shrimp on a Corkscrew anemone

First off understand, I am not going to stand here and ring the bells of doom.  I am also not a strong believer in the whole Global Warming theory, the systems are much to complex for us to say, this is what is happening. Heck, the new terms coming out now are “Global Weirding” because Mother Nature is not falling in line with the scientists predictions.  So that just means she is screwed up and not our models or understanding.  So what does all this have to do with our Aquatic World?  Thank you for getting me back on track here.

The other day, I happened to sit down and see the end of Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home, (bear with me a minute, I am not running off on a tangent here) which is the one where they time travel back to 20th Century Earth to bring back 2 Humpback Whales.  All this to save the planet from an alien probe looking for a response from Humpbacks.  By the way, this also shows me that aliens are bright enough to realize there is intelligence in the Oceans, why can’t some of us realize it?  So they time travel back from 20th Century Earth, release the whales and all is saved.  So what does this have to do with the Aquatic World?  In short answer balance.

Since that movie was made, we have made strong strides to protect and right the course of the Humpback.  This is the course where we almost caused their extinction.  The good fight is still not over with yet.  Currently, we believe that there is only about 30% of the original population left (Click Here to read more on Humpbacks).  Humpbacks are filter feeders eating shrimp, krill and fish.  It is not uncommon for them to eat a ton of food daily when they do eat.  Hard to believe but Humpbacks are seasonal feeders.

Back to our Voyage Home for a minute.  The good Captain Kirk and crew bring the Humpbacks to the future to save mankind.  What if our aquatic world does not support what the whale eats any longer?  This is the conversation on the aquatic world that I am bringing up.  Our oceans are changing.  Man has over-fished many species to the point that they no longer reproduce in the quantities to sustain their ecosystems.   Another article points out a recent article from the World Meteorological Organization that our oceans are acidifying (Click here for the article).  If the ocean becomes to acidic, then shellfish and other invertebrates cannot reproduce or create a shell for protection.  The article brings up oysters, but shrimp and krill would be affected too.  So our oceans become to acidic, they can’t support life that the Humpback would need and our good Captain brought the whales back to starve.  Ok, it is a movie based in fantasy.

Our aquatic world is not though.  What scientists are claiming is that the oceans are becoming more acidic because it is absorbing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere.  That gas is what is making the oceans more acidic.   They also point back to a period in Earth’s history where Carbon Dioxide levels were higher than today.  What was common then was that large animals and predators were no longer around.  The oceans could not support them.  Along with that, we did not have coral reefs, because the alkalinity was too high for reef structures.  Without reef structures, no place for small fish to hide.  No smaller fish, then no larger animals because they don’t have anything to eat.

How do we change this?  Many of us are taking steps to conserve and reduce our Carbon Dioxide output (or carbon footprint).  Keep doing that.  Make choices that are wise for the environment.  Choose fish that are harvested to allow reproduction and protect the planet.  There are more things that can be done, but until our government wants to allow energy sources that can produce sustainable amounts of energy cleanly, (no that is not green energy) we are all going to be behind that power curve.  Our world and our aquatic world need our help.  To maintain the ability to scuba dive on fascinating coral reefs and swim with the whales.  We all need to do our part.  Captain Kirk is not going to be able to save us in the future.