Threats to marine life

From: Dagmar Fertl (
Date: Mon Mar 27 2000 - 10:06:14 EST

My name is Nathan Hoffmann and I am a Junior at Blue Valley Northwest
Highschool in Overland Park Kansas. In my Chemistry class we have a project
called ask a scientist where we ask a scientist of any kind a question about
their feild.

I was curious as to what Poses the biggest threat to marine life as of this
point in time? If you could please e-mail me back with a responce it would
be greately appreciated.

Nathan Hoffmann
Hi Nathan, thanks for your great question. Probably the biggest crisis for
marine life is loss of biological diversity (loss of diversity of life, or
in short, the number of species). A great book on this topic is "Global
Marine Biological Diversity" edited by Elliott A. Norse which was published
in 1993. The book notes that humans are harming marine biodiversity in five
major ways:
1. overexploiting living things (e.g., overfishing)
2. altering the physical environment
3. polluting the sea
4. introducing alien species
5. adding substances to the atmosphere that increase ultraviolet radiation
and alter climate (e.g., global warming)
The book also notes that are five root causes that underlie the threats to
marine life:
1. There are too many people
2. We consume too much
3. Our institutions degrade, rather than conserve biodiversity
4. We do not have the knowledge we need
5. We do not value nature enough

I hope you will take the time to locate the book and learn more about this
important topic.


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