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The ocean is an important asset for the existence of billions of people across the world. Sea food is heavily dependent on as a source of protein by majority of the world’s population. There are over a million of jobs that are dependent on the marine sector. A huge portion of marine organisms mostly relied upon by human beings are in danger as they face extinction. Due to an increase in the demand for marine habits by people, their overall health are impacted year in and out. In some countries, marine areas have been set aside for protection to shield the livelihood of people and preserve biodiversity. (Christopherson et al., 7)
There is a deep relationship between ocean health and peoples life. Important breakthroughs in medicines is as a result of information provided by the ocean. For instance, research on snails has led to the inventions of very effective painkillers. Data from the International Program on the State of the Ocean reveals that the overall health of our oceans is deteriorating at an alarming rate. There are multiple risks that face oceans, such overfishing, pollution, climate change and dead zones caused by chemicals from synthetic fertilizer. Oceans and seas are the biggest life-supporting ecosystems on the planet. They provide important services like oxygen and absorption of carbon dioxide to reduce the effect of climate change (Halpern et al., 618). The paper is going to discuss the health of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification refers to a shift in the chemical makeup of the ocean where the PH of oceans drops drastically due to excess uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A change in the chemistry of seas is happening in oceans across the world. The release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased due industrialization, urbanization and deforestation. The ocean absorbs a significant amount of carbon dioxide from the air annually. As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, so does the level of absorption in oceans. The acidification of oceans has a big impact on marine ecosystems. Continuous absorption of carbon oxide released into the atmosphere by human activities like the burning of fossil fuels has caused the PH of oceans to drop to as low as 0.1. The low PH in marine ecosystems has become unbearable for organisms that use them as their habitat. Oceans are now becoming extremely acidic to support any form of life. The surging acidity has caused massive rates of extinctions of marine life.
Ocean acidification has a negative effect on coral reefs in particular. The structure of coral reef is made out of calcium carbonate, which is resistant to ocean waves. Coral reefs provide food and habitat to fish. Due to shrinking of coral reefs as an outcome of acidification, the livelihood of those people who depend on fish is at risk. Apart from just fish, other marine organisms also rely on coral reefs for breeding, shelter and food; hence a loss of the coral reefs will result in a reduction in marine biodiversity. Furthermore, acidification of marine ecosystem reduces the availability of carbonate ions which act as vital components in shell building of sea organisms. Most of the sea organisms form the foundation of marine food chains, and their extinction could spell doom for marine life (Fabry et al., 414).
Due increasing threats to marine ecosystem because of pollution and acidification, the government and conservationists have taken measures like the establishment of marine protected areas to conserve and preserve our oceans. Other measures include a ban on polluting operations like industries along the coastline.
Christopherson, Robert W., Prentice Hall, and Charles E. Thomsen. "Introduction to Physical Geography." Montana (2012).
Fabry, Victoria J., et al. "Impacts of ocean acidification on marine fauna and ecosystem processes." ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 65.3 (2008): 414-432.
Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. "An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean." Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
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