Marine Ecosystem and Ocean Pollution
World Wide Fund for Nature. “Marine Problems: Pollution.” WWF.
World Wide Fund for Nature, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
.Marine Ecosystem and Ocean Pollution
What is an ecosystem?
“An ecosystem is a community of different species interacting with one another and with their nonliving environment of soil, water, other forms of matter, and energy, mostly from the sun” (Miller). Ecosystems range in all different sizes; from a puddle of water, to an ocean. (Miller)
What is a marine ecosystem?
A marine ecosystem, is an ecosystem in a body of water. “Marine ecosystems are a complex of habitats defined by the wide range of physical, chemical, and geological variations that are found in the sea. Habitats range from highly productive near-shore regions to the deep sea floor inhabited only by highly specialised organisms” (European Environment Agency). Marine ecosystems are very important to humans in ecologically and economically ways, like they provide numerous vital goods and services, and support the processes that sustain the whole world. (European Environment Agency) Marine ecosystems are also important to humans because they provide food for us, oceans hold 97% of the earth’s water, and oceans generate up to 50% of the oxygen we breathe.
Pollution is the existence of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects on the environment. Right now, over 80% of ocean pollution is from land-based activities such as: oil spills, fertilizers, waste, and toxic chemicals. (World Wide Fund for Nature) Ocean acidification is caused by land-based activities, such as vehicle emissions and plays a huge role in ocean pollution, but what is it? Since we started burning fossil fuels, we are responsible for about half of all the CO2 (Carbon dioxide) that the ocean absorbs. The ocean is called the planet’s biggest carbon sink, because when the CO2 reacts with the ocean water, the water releases hydrogen ions, which make the ocean more acidic. The more CO2 the ocean takes in, the more the water heats up, and the more it heats up, the less CO2 the ocean will take in from the atmosphere. Some sea creatures’ (like coral and snails) skeletons and shells are getting weaker, because they need carbonate ions to build their shells and the hydrogen ions are competing with them for carbonate ions. The muscles’ and corals’ populations are decreasing which means there is less food for the fish that eat them, which means their population is decreasing, and that process goes up the food chain to us, where we aren’t getting enough fish to eat. If this continues, coral reefs, muscles, and fish could become extinct. (World Wide Fund for Nature)
What Can We Do?
You can help reduce ocean acidification by finding multiple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person or group of people. Here are just a few things you can do in your daily life to make a different: replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), wash clothes in cold water, wrap heater with insulation, use efficient faucets and showerheads, and waste less food. (Natural Resources Defense Council)
European Environment Agency. Marine Ecosystems. Copenhagen:
EEA, 2010. 10 Messages for 2010. European Environment Agency, 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
Miller, G. Tyler, and Scott Spoolman. Living in the Environment, AP
Edition. 16th ed. Belmont, C.A.: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print. Living in the Environment.
Natural Resources Defense Council. “What You Can Do.” Ocean
Acidification. NRDC, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.