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Despite covering nearly three quarters of the surface of the earth, the world’s oceans are signalling a severe deterioration in health due to a number of human related impacts.  An independent set of report published by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) has indicated that various significant factors are mounting a cause for concern that is overreaching what scientists had initially predicted.

Over time, the ocean has lessoned the affects of global warming by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.  Whilst this has reduced greenhouse gas levels, this uptake of carbon dioxide has caused the water to become increasingly acidic.  Along with overfishing, other sources of pollution and the increasingly more common ‘dead zones’ formed by fertiliser run-off, the oceans are showing the strains and may suffer from potential mass extinction.

An example of where these negative impacts are being noticeably felt are along coral reefs.  Not only are the corals incredibly sensitive to ocean warming but pollution, coral mining and destructive fishing practices also limit the growth of these vital organisms negatively impacting their vital role in biological ecosystems and geochemical processes within the sea.  A recent report revealed that coral coverage on the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral system, has declined by a staggering 50% over the past 30 years.

The reports indicate the requirement for immediate responses on both a global, national and local scale.  Chiefly, urgent action must be taken to cut CO2 emissions, promote and manage sustainable fishing practices and governments must tackle key groups of chemicals that are being released into the ocean.

Half-term Homework Year 8

Please watch the following three sort films and answer the questions below.  Your answers need to be posted at the bottom of this blog.

What is the main ocean threat discussed in each video?
—What actions are people taking to address these threats?

Film 1: Coral Reefs

Film 2: EcoTipping Point Success Stories – Apo Island

Film 3: Arabian ‘Sea Cows’ Going Hungry?