We know that thedegrade the environment. The pollution, the … the causes are many. But what is less known is how exactly, and especially what other lesser-known processes also contribute to this degradation of the marine environment. This is what a team wanted to study in a study published in the journal thanks to an international collaboration with 30 researchers specialized in marine and coastal systems. They only focused on the problems and their future impact in the next five to ten years.
For their research, they began by establishing a list of 75 possible causes in association with the 30 researchers and their network, which they then separated into three categories: impacts on ecosystems, exploitation of resources, and new technologies. They then submitted all their suggestions to votes in order to gradually reduce the list : each person rated each problem from 1 to 1,000 according to different criteria, then a participatory workshop made it possible to isolate the 15 most important among the best rated.
On marine ecosystems: unexpected impacts of human activity
Among the problems denounced, several unexpected ones appeared, such as that of the. The latter, more and more numerous and more and more serious, “free from particles and large of materials containing soluble forms of in particular from and heavy such as the and the », explains the study. All this debris is then transported over long distances, sometimes to the coasts, and therefore to the sea or the ocean. Their direct impact is then hard to assess, but such fires have already triggered a proliferation of or the death of many . Another unexpected hazard: coastal darkening. Coastal ecosystems depend on the from . However, climate change and human activities are modifying the water, and therefore, the penetration of light. And then triggers a because the darkening of the water causes a proliferation of which in turn darken the water.
Added to this darkening is the problem of heavy metals, or pollution in general through the discharge into water of. An effect that goes hand in hand with climate change: the latter makes the oceans more making them more likely to absorb metals and increasing their . In addition to killing certain species, heavy metals can quite simply contaminate them: the authors cite in particular the , such as mussels or oysters. But all other marine species are also impacted by global warming. The researchers discuss in their study the essential, contained in large quantities in fish, but which actually come from the phytoplankton on which they feed. The warming of the oceans prevents them from synthesizing them as efficiently, and this effect could impact all the which depends on them.
Deep-sea fishing: a sure decline if nothing is done
Researchers have pointed to the exploitation of the resources of, used for industrial purposes. the for example. Those are ” of the structures increasingly used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and biomedical », explains the study. They are contained in various marine organisms, such as or sponges. This desire to extract collagen could aggravate overfishing, which is already one of the main causes of the decline in marine biodiversity. Added to this is the risk of overfishing in deep waters of mesopelagic species, which live between 200 and 1,000 meters deep. They are “unfit for human consumption but could potentially provide fishmeal for the or be used as fertilizer, explains the study.
However, these are essential to maintain the. “There are areas where we think immediate changes could prevent huge problems over the next decade, such as overfishing in the mesopelagic zone of the ocean”warns Dr. Ann Thornton, first author of the study, and researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. “Limiting this would not only stop the overexploitation of these fish stocks, but reduce the disruption of the fish cycle. in the ocean – because these species are an ocean pump that removes carbon from our . » Finally, the researchers discuss the demand for battery, which could increase fivefold by 2030. They fear that mining will be diverted to become marine exploitation, in basins of which are home to many species (who only live in a specific place).
The primary goal of the researchers: to alert
Another aspect of: their degradation in the environment. They are often buried at the end of their life, but ” some battery cells and some chemical electrolytes are toxic to aquatic life or form persistent organic pollutants when incomplete “, warn researchers. They then cite the construction of floating marine cities, which would make it possible to optimize the production of so that it is renewable and on the spot. But, small problem, such constructions could favor the propagation of . Other green alternatives do not escape researchers either, such as biodegradable bags. Used to replace plastic ones, some have not been sufficiently tested in a marine environment and may prove to be toxic. Those containing polybutylene succinate (PBS), the (PLA) or materials based on and D’ can become marine litter and cause harmful effects similar to conventional plastics”. Note that they are still much less bad than the plastic bags used before.
Finally, the primary goal of this study is to alert and encourage awhile since 2021 we have been in the “United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for the ». “Marine and coastal ecosystems face a wide range of emerging issues that are poorly recognized or misunderstood, each with the potential to impact biodiversity.says Dr James Herbert-Read, co-author of the study and a researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. By highlighting future issues, we indicate where changes need to be made today – in both monitoring and policy – to protect our marine and coastal environments. »