You know that saying “there are plenty of fish in the sea”? Well, that saying is on the verge of never being used again.
Our large blue waters and everything in it are dying. We are slowly killing our marine life both from pollution and literally hitting them. Just recently, a ship in Santa Barbara hit a 12 year old blue whale which they found washed up to shore with an estimate of 9 centi-meter long earwax made with a combination of 16 pollutants.
| Planktons |
It’s getting worse and worse every day. An article made by Daniel Boyce (quantitative marine ecologist), Marlon Lewis (oceanographer) and Boris Worm (Marine Research Ecologist and Associate Professor) states the importance and what has been happening to our oceans:
“In the oceans, ubiquitous microscopic phototrophs (phytoplankton) account for approximately half the production of organic matter on Earth. Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends. Here we combine available ocean transparency measurements and in situ chlorophyll observations to estimate the time dependence of phytoplankton biomass at local, regional and global scales since 1899. We observe declines in eight out of ten ocean regions, and estimate a global rate of decline of ~1% of the global median per year. Our analyses further reveal inter-annual to decadal phytoplankton fluctuations superimposed on long-term trends. These fluctuations are strongly correlated with basin-scale climate indices, whereas long-term declining trends are related to increasing sea surface temperatures. We conclude that global phytoplankton concentration has declined over the past century; this decline will need to be considered in future studies of marine ecosystems, geochemical cycling, ocean circulation and fisheries.”
Our Planktons are decreasing by the second. You need to know the importance of planktons because they change our oceans in a large but good way. First, let’s get to know what a plankton actually is….. well, it’s defined as a “small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water, consisting chiefly of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs”. As small as these planktons are, the ocean living without these microscopic organisms would be different, it would show a huge difference. Now that you understand what it is time to explain what it does. Okay, so, these small plants help give nutrition to sea creatures such as: Whales; Shrimps; Snails and Jellyfish!
The big roles small planktons do:
(According to Reference)
- Responsible for 1/2 of the worlds photosynthesis
- Remove approximately 100 million tons of carbon dioxide from the earth (daily!!!)
- Scientists use plankton as indicators to check out the changes in the ocean
(According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency)
- Helps regulate temperature of our planet through the global carbon cycle
- Important food source for large animals (AS LARGE AS WHALES!!!)
- First link in the food chain
- Primary producers
- Help estuarine fish and shellfish in their survival
(According to NASA Earth Observatory)
- Foundation of aquatic food web
- Feeding everything from microscopic, animal-like zooplankton to multi-ton whales
Can you see the importance this one small specie of plant could do to thousands and maybe even millions of sea creatures that swim around in our big blue bodies of water? If we were to compare planktons to our body then the ocean would be the the life blood and the planktons would be the red blood cells. We are not only putting thousands of animals at risk by our pollution but also ourselves.
Here is a paragraph explaining and sparking up the idea of how important and strong a plankton could be, written by David Biello when he wrote for Aeon:
Plankton is our planet’s most prolific life form, and the food it generates makes up the base layer of the global food chain. The variety of shapes among plankton species shames plants on land, showing more range in size than the difference between moss and redwood trees. There are more plankton cells in the sea than our current count of stars in the entire universe. Indeed, it is precisely this abundance that leads Smetacek to suspect that plankton could be used to change Earth’s environment.
If these planktons decreases even lower there will be consequences (just like how a person would be in a terrible state if they had too little red blood cells; no living thing should be going through this), such as:
(According to Science Daily)
- Reduction of fish bio mass
- High thermal stratification [usually, thermal stratifications relates to the temperature change in oceans]
- Reduction of primary production
- Pelagic Species decreases [dramatically]
- Less absorption of Carbon dioxide [More climate problems!!]
Can you believe that this small plankton can affect us in such a big way? We are all part of this, you can’t be left out because when our oceans get affected, food of other animals get affect, which eventually leads to our table. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is only one of the problems that our pollutions cause.
| Deadly spills into the ocean |
Do you know about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant? Well, the information on knowing about what happened in Fukushima Daichi will help you understand the situation of how it is related to the water pollution better, so, let’s have a small recap:
To keep it simple, the Fukushima was an accidental explosion caused by overheating of the nuclear plants. But, it wasn’t just *poof* then the nuclear plants cooler suddenly stopped working, no, it all started with an earthquake. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake struck in the same area of the Fukushima plant. As soon as the earthquake started, the sustained fission reactions were immediately and automatically shut down by the active reactors which meant good news. Since the reactions were shut down, that meant nothing was going to start overheating anytime soon, but they assumed wrong. Unfortunately, the emergency generators used to cool down the reactors completely broke down as the tsunami came over making the reactors get insufficient cooling treatment. The following three days later, 3 plants blew up by the overheating, which led to huge amounts of radioactive water pouring out into the ocean.
Okay, maybe not such a small recap. But, very important details to know.
Six years have passed and you may be thinking with all the brilliant scientists and minds who have the potential to bring us all the way to the moon and back have thought of a way to solve this problem by now, but, it might take quite more time. Anyways, while we sit behind out books or on the bed or whatever you normally do, every single day 300 tons of contaminated water is, to this very day, is mixing with our sea.
| Fix what we still have |
The people who started the problem may not know how to fix it, but, we (you) can do the simplest things to help out [Change starts with yourself]:
- Don’t throw oil, pills, fats, grease, trash or micro-beads into the toilet/sink.
- Educate others | Teach other on what not to do
- Beware of the chemicals that you throw and drain down your toilet/sink.
- Stop littering [Honestly, I see these signs almost everywhere…. just listen]
You have the chance to help, take it.