heat 181x300 Oceans Heating Up – Will Cause Decline and Rearrangement of Sea LifeThe temperature of the ocean is key in determining just how productive and how much biodiversity there is in the ocean and also where it is.

There have been two separate studies in which researchers discovered that the ocean heating up has caused a massive decline in the amount of plant life in the ocean over the past 100 years. The studies also indicated that there is a link between the ambient temperature of the water of the ocean and the different patterns of marine biodiversity.

“We are just now understanding how deeply temperature affects ocean life,” explained Boris Worm, a biologist of Dalhousie University, and also co-author on both reports published in the July 28 edition of Nature. “It is not necessarily that increased temperature is destroying biodiversity, but we do know that a warmer ocean will look very different.”

In one of the studies performed which took a look at the historical amounts of algae concentrations over the last century, Worm and his associates have discovered that the rising temperatures of the oceans are directly related to the massive decline in marine algae, commonly know in scientific circles as phytoplankton. These phytoplankton also happen to be the base of the food chain for the ocean, and were responsible for creating oxygen on Earth.

The research seems to indicate that the marine algae has declined by about 40 percent since the 1950′s.
“I think that if this study holds up, it will be one of the biggest biological changes in recent times simply because of its scale,” explained Worm. “The ocean is two-thirds of the earth’s surface area, and because of the depth dimension it is probably 80 to 90 percent of the biosphere. Even the deep sea depends on phytoplankton production that rains down. On land, by contrast, there is only a very thin layer of production.”

The study focused on the phytoplankton is the first study to have looked at the changes over the past 100 years, on a global scale and using data from as far back as 1899. Some similar models have been made using the newly available data from satellites, however that data only goes back as far as 1979.

“One of the most important aspects of the new paper is that they’ve come up with the same answer but from a different approach than we saw from space,” explained Michael Behrenfeld, a marine biologist from Oregon State University. “I think that we should be concerned that this convergence of multiple approaches sees a reduction in the phytoplankton pigments as the ocean warms. If we continue to warm the climate we will probably see further reductions.”

So there you have it.. Global warming is having an adverse effect on our oceans.. I guess it’s time somebody stepped up to the plate to do something about it, however the issue has been ignored for so long, it might be very difficult to remedy the situation. Well, at least now there is solid “proof” that there is a problem, and it might finally provide the incentive needed for action to be taken.