Plankton may go extinct... no more Sushi?


| 3 Comments

I'll be honest guys. I didn't really know what plankton were, and only thought they looked something close to plankton in Spongebob. Nor did I know the massive toll it would take on the fish if they were gone. It has been recorded that ocean plankton are headed to extinction because they are struggling to adapt to the changes in the sea temperature.

               With that fact present, it is only natural for one to question, what causes these changes in sea temperature. According to National Geographic, two words. Global Warming.


As the Earth is warming, though the Seas have had a slower response, it has still been happening. The temperature of the earth has risen on average about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. Though globally it has risen this much, the temperatures of the seas has only risen about .18 degrees Fahrenheit. Though the sea seems like it hasn't been changing that much, it has had a detrimental effect because of how sensitive the marine ecosystem is to even the slightest rise of temperature.

               Researchers, led by Deakin University and Swansea University has found that the population of cold water plankton have been declining. This is a huge problem because these plankton are the main source of food for cod and hake, common fish that are eaten by us humans. As the water gets warmer, fish that are considered the "warm water species" are able to expand their territory because the regions that were once "cold water species" region are now getting warmer. With this expansion, the "cold water species" are contracting, causing population decline of cold water fish.

Observational studies have been conducted observing a 50 year time period on two contrasting species of ocean plankton, one that thrives in cold water and one that thrives in warm water.  Researchers have found that the cold water plankton have been contracting. Meaning that "In other words, even over 50 generations (each plankton lives for one year or less) there is no evidence of adaptation to the warmer water." So who can even come up with the conclusion that there is even a chance for the plankton to be able to adapt now?

Considering these conclusions, it can be now thought that this is a very critical problem, and that measures must be taken in order for this problem to be solved. Without these plankton, let me remind you that vital sources of fish will be destroyed in the process. Professor Hays has concluded to say that "the consequences of this study are profound. It suggests that cold water plankton will continue to become scarcer as their ranges contract to the poles, and ultimately disappear. So certainly for these animals, thermal adaptation appears unlikely to limit the impact of climate change."

Global warming must be fixed, so how can everyday normal citizens like us reduce global warming? This website will give detailed ways to reduce global warming.

 

1.      Carpool with Friends or Co-Workers

2.      Replace Plastic Water Bottles with Reusable ones

3.      Recycle and Reuse

4.      Choose to Buy Local Products

Penn State overall has been a huge help in the fight to reduce global warming. The fact that it is encouraged to buy a washable and reusable water bottle, and that there are special filling stations to fill water bottles with. I love fish, and will not be the same without, so what say you guys that we try and make the planet a happy and fish filled environment to live in?

What do you guys do in order to prevent Global Warming?

Sources :"Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe." EarthSky. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

http://earthsky.org/science-wire/tiny-sea-creatures-are-heading-for-extinction


3 Comments

This is a very well written blog post to show us that climate change has an effect on even the smallest living organisms and even the small organisms can effect us humans, who are at the top of the food chain. Im sure that most of us haven't talked about the food chain since elementary school and this illustrates to us that if you take out one part of the food chain, it echoes all the way up to the top and harms many organisms on the way up. You did a good job pointing out what we could do to maybe slow down or stop global warming. One thing I do question is whether or not this is because of global warming or could it be because of a third variable? Could it be because of chemicals in the water that affect only smalls organisms like plankton and the researches haven't done research to disprove this.

I knew that the ocean was a delicate balance, but I had no idea! The fact that a 0.18% increase can be causing such a drastic change in the ecosystem is absolutely insane, as well as the fact that such a small yet important creature like plankton is unable to adapt and is changing the ecosystem. I had assumed that the problems you listed with plankton would impact the food chain, but never in the way that this article states. It talks about how organisms like plankton start their growth cycles at a certain time, and the warmer temperatures make them start early. This can impact the entire food chain.

The food chain is extremely delicate, and when the primary producers are affected, every organism in the chain feels it. Phytoplankton generate their own energy from the sun, and are at the bottom of the food chain. If they disappear, the fish that eat them won't have food, and when they die the fish that eat those fish won't have food...you see the issue. It's a very real domino effect and you're right about us having to try and stop it before it becomes too serious.

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