Scientists: Human Activities Affecting World's Oceans

Publication: Washington Post

Author: Juliet Eilperin


02/14/2008 - Human activities are affecting every square mile of the world's oceans, according to a study by a team of American, British and Canadian researchers who mapped the severity of the effects from pole to pole.

The analysis of 17 global data sets, led by Benjamin S. Halpern of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, Calif., illustrates the extent to which humans are reshaping the seas through overfishing, air pollution and commercial shipping. The study, published online today in the journal Science, examines the impacts on nearly two dozen marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and continental shelves.

"For the first time we can see where some of the most threatened marine ecosystems are and what might be degrading them," said Elizabeth Selig, a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a co-author, in a statement. "This information enables us to tailor strategies and set priorities for ecosystem management. And it shows that while local efforts are important, we also need to be thinking about global solutions."

. . .

Pew Environment Group managing director Joshua S. Reichert said the study demonstrates that human activity has already transformed "what had been viewed as the Earth's last great bastion of nature." . . .

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