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"This important natural resource is under threat from a range of human activities that cause water pollution and damage the physical integrity of water bodies and habitats.".
-Environmental Protection Agency
Coral Reefs Are Dying
The Earth's Oceans have absorbed 90% of the heat
caused by global warming. As the ocean becomes warmer coral reefs are bleaching, in other words, dying.
The Purpose of Coral
Aside from their natural beauty, coral serves an important purpose. They provide shelter, food & a nursery for about 25% of marine life, despite accounting for less than 0.1% of the ocean's' surface.
Coral reefs also protect land from erosion.
Enter the extraordinary world of corals, remarkable animals capable of creating vast structures in underwater cities.
We explored these ecosystems in our exhibition Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea
What Is Ocean Acidification?
Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
Increased carbon dioxide (CO2 ) in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use, causes changes in ocean chemistry, leading to a decrease in the pH of seawater.Potential adverse impacts include disruption of calcium carbonate shell and skeleton formation. Molluscs, our cold water coral reefs and the diversity these habitats support, some phytoplankton and many other organisms are likely to be at risk.
At least one-quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning coal, oil and gas doesn't stay in the air, but instead dissolves into the ocean. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the ocean has absorbed some 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, presently around 22 million tons per day.
If the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stabilises, eventually buffering (or neutralising) will occur and pH will return to normal. This is why there are periods in the past with much higher levels of carbon dioxide but no evidence of ocean acidification: the rate of carbon dioxide increase was slower, so the ocean had time to buffer and adapt. But this time, pH is dropping too quickly.Buffering will take thousands of years, which is way too long a period of time for the ocean organisms affected now and in the near future.
For more than 200 years, or since the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased due to the burning of fossil fuels and land use change.
The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean.
90% of fish populations are overfished
Fish Farm Pollution
Fish farms need to be properly managed to ensure coastal habitats are protected.
"Levels of azamethiphos discharged by 76 caged fish farms around the coast increased from 166 kilograms in 2018 to 286 kilograms in 2019. The chemical is known to kill marine wildlife."
Top 10 Sea Creatures Under Threat
It is up to all of us to ensure plastic does not reach the ocean by holding the industry to account.
"We have to stop using plastics" - Richard Hutten
Resources We Recommend
What Can We Do?
"We are here to challenge many of the commonly held assumptions about our water systems and change how people think about water. Our goal is to bust the global sense of impending doom by painting an alternative, optimistic water future and mapping out the ways to get there. We believe that even one person with enough knowledge can make a difference and inspire a movement. We are here to provide that knowledge."
In The News
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