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Humans vs The Sea
February 14, 2008 5:15 PM   Subscribe

A Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems "What happens in the vast stretches of the world's oceans - both wondrous and worrisome - has too often been out of sight, out of mind. The goal of the research presented here is to estimate and visualize, for the first time, the global impact humans are having on the ocean's ecosystems."
posted by dhruva (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like that apparently the Australian efforts to keep the Great Coraal Reef from taking too much damage are apparently working.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:08 PM on February 14, 2008


It's interesting, but I wouldn't have minded if it went into a bit more in depth- why are some of the areas where you might expect more of an effect (like the GBR) fairly fine, and what in particular makes the worst areas that way? Without that information it's just a colourful map, really. Are there different conservation programs? Different government requirements for companies regarding dumping/pollution?
posted by twirlypen at 6:20 PM on February 14, 2008


NBC Nightly News video segment on this analysis which was reported today in Science.
posted by ericb at 6:25 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This was originally planned as the Marine Human Footprint (Terrestrial H.F., previously), but ... things happened between the collaborators at UCSB and the folks at WCS who actually conceptualized the study (and, I believe, collated most of the data). WCS submitted a parallel paper to Science (probably around the same time). Having worked on the study at WCS, it's frustrating to see this, but at the same time it's good somebody published it.
posted by one_bean at 6:31 PM on February 14, 2008


A Japanese whaling fleet has just marked this post as a favourite
posted by mattoxic at 7:21 PM on February 14, 2008


Getting a little more specific in an ocean of trouble... The plastic fantastic sargasso mass.

Previously in the blue
posted by Huplescat at 7:25 PM on February 14, 2008


Mating Season
posted by homunculus at 8:06 PM on February 14, 2008


Man I just wasted an hour watching the clips in ericb's NBC Nightly News link, some good stuff there. Who knew the richest self-made woman in the world, richer than Oprah, made her money recycling waste paper from the USA, shipped to China on empty return-bound cargo-ships, and sent back to the US as packing paper. Also a clip on the sargasso sea (click "Our Planet" left side more).
posted by stbalbach at 8:10 PM on February 14, 2008


Who knew the richest self-made woman in the world, richer than Oprah, made her money recycling waste paper from the USA

That's old news.
posted by Mblue at 8:49 PM on February 14, 2008


The oceans will recover and do fine, once fish hits $50+/lb. We'll just starve, while our cars grow fat and gluttonous with corn.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on February 14, 2008


So, kill yourself or STFU.
posted by HTuttle at 9:59 PM on February 14, 2008


I'm curious what the definition for "impact" might be.

Most, if not all of the lower-impact or blue areas of the map are pelagic regions, in the middle of the Pacific. However, the most productive regions occur on the Continental Shelf, which is where the greatest impact is. But does impact mean "resource extraction" (ie, fishing) or "pollution"?

They mention using this data to evaluate what impact an activity would have on the ocean in that area. But it's not like you can relocate a sewage pipe or a fishery to the middle of the ocean.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:15 PM on February 14, 2008


So, kill yourself or STFU.

I'll take the salmon, trout, flounder and urchin. Thanks. Cake or death?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on February 14, 2008


Cake or death?

I believe both involve a fry pan.
posted by Mblue at 11:24 PM on February 14, 2008


Look at the Lorenz attractors and the differential equations in their banner graphic! Their brains are so big! Sometimes it's hard to put on their cokebottle glasses and tie up their pony tails in the morning!

Speaking of ecological destruction, I like the uninhabited islands in the South Pacific where every native animal has been overwhelmed by the descendants of rats that escaped from European sailing vessels. It's a rat-eat-rat world, y'know.
posted by XMLicious at 11:55 PM on February 14, 2008


Who knew the richest self-made woman in the world, richer than Oprah, made her money recycling waste paper from the USA

That's old news.


Exactly...as stbalbach was likely aware while he was meandering through the NBC Nightly News video archives for about an hour last night.
posted by ericb at 4:29 AM on February 15, 2008


The oceans will recover and do fine, once fish hits $50+/lb.

That's doubtful; this isn't solely a market problem any more. Populations of certain fish are already below the level at which they are likely to be able to overcome habitat destruction, continued harvesting, and temperature changes and 'bounce back.' The consensus among marine scientists is that the oceans - at least fishing grounds - are the equivalent of scorched earth.
posted by Miko at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2008


Exactly...as stbalbach was likely aware while he was meandering through the NBC Nightly News video archives for about an hour last night.

That's why it's his first link, eh? "Sheesh, sick of scanning, this one." Thank God I have Mea Culpa mark with a....( what's the Trade Mark gummy thingy?)
posted by Mblue at 7:09 AM on February 15, 2008


one_bean: This was originally planned as the Marine Human Footprint8230;
Indeed, and one of the co-author credits goes to WCS(4).
twirlypen: I wouldn't have minded if it went into a bit more in depth
Well, you can get the actual study for all the details: subscription required.
posted by tremendo at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2008


Yeah... the weird thing about that is she hasn't worked at WCS for about 3 years. But she was a post-doc hired (I believe) specifically to work on this project, so it makes sense. Nevertheless, there were plenty of other people at WCS who worked hard that got no credit.
posted by one_bean at 12:10 PM on February 15, 2008


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