Ocean Acidification Causes, Effects, & Examples: Top 10 List

December 3, 2016 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate

Ocean acidification is the process by which oceanic waters progressively become more and more acidic, mostly as a result of absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide. To put that another way, as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase, the process of ocean acidification will increase as well. To a point anyways.

Acidic in this case is actually something of a slight misnomer, though, as the “acidification” is actually more of a move to pH-neutral conditions, from the generally slightly basic (pH >7) condition’s of the earth’s oceans.

This move to pH-neutral conditions will have a profound impact on the myriad lifeforms found within the oceans though, as witnessed during previous ocean acidification events such as “The Great Dying” (~252 million years ago), rather than being a trivial process.

Impacts that can be reliably expected are: major changes to plankton distribution, types, and numbers; increasingly common mass coral bleaching events; associated extinctions; depressed metabolic rates and immunity in some types of marine animals, as well as behavioral changes; fishery collapses; and increasingly common red tide events.

To go back over that earlier point a bit more — seawater is generally slightly basic (pH>7), as it absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, or from elsewhere (carbon seeps, etc), some of the absorbed CO2 reacts to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), and leads as well to carbonate (HCO3−) and bicarbonate (CO32−) formation. The carbonate and bicarbonate formation results in increased hydrogen ion (H+) concentrations in the ocean water (acidity) — as they are the “leftovers” of the formation process.
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Ocean Acidification Effects, Causes, & Examples List Part 2

December 3, 2016 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate

(This is Part 2 of the Ocean Acidification Causes, Effects, & Examples: Top 10 List, which had to be split in order to load properly. Click through to that article to read the introduction, and items 1 through 4 of the list.)

Algae bloom red ocean

Increase In Red Tide Events

A likely co-occurrence with increasing ocean acidification will be increasingly common red tide events. That is, increasingly common and extensive blooms of the various dinoflagellates responsible for “red tides.”

An increase in these events will of course see an increase in the accumulation of associated toxins (domoic acid, saxitoxin, brevetoxin) in marine animals — and thus an increase in the marine mass mortality events that accompany this. Also, paralytic and neurotoxic shellfish poisoning will become more common as well.
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10 Extinct Animals Of The Last 100 Years, & Before – List

November 20, 2016 in Animals & Insects

While the title of this article implies that it will focus on animals that have gone extinct only within the last 100 years, it won’t. It will actually showcase a number of animals that have gone extinct over the last 15,000 years, and longer. The animals featured start out with relatively recent extinctions, such as the Carolina Parakeet, and the European Lion, and work their way back in time.

The animals to be highlighted include the largest eagle to have ever existed, the Haast’s Eagle, one of the largest birds to have ever existed, the Elephant Bird, and an armadillo relative that grew to be the size of a car. As well as examples of convergent evolution, such as the American Cheetah. And also examples of animals related to those still in the world but that lived in regions and climates not associated with the animals nowadays, and that were much larger or possessed different qualities + occupied different ecological niches.

So, yeah, there’s no focus on just 10 extinct animals of the last 100 years, but rather on the before as well. Enjoy the article.

10 Extinct Animals Of The Last 100 Years, & Before – List

Stuffed Carolina parakeet stuffed

Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis)

The Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) was a bright green parakeet that previous to the 20th century was found throughout most of what’s now the continental US — to be more particular, found all throughout the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Plains States.
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Stellar’s Sea Cow, Stories, Myths, & Their Connection With Now Extinct Animals

November 6, 2016 in Animals & Insects

The Stellar’s Sea Cow was an enormous marine mammal related to the manatee and to the dugong that live until very recently — until ~1772 or so. Following “discovery” in 1742 they were subsequently hunted to extinction over the course of only 3 decades.

For those wondering, the species was named after its “discoverer” Georg Wilhelm Steller. Notably, Stellar himself died (in Siberia) only a few years after making it off the island where he “discovered” the animals, while shipwrecked there with his crew for 9 months.

The Steller’s Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was an enormous animal, considerably bigger than even the largest West Indian Manatees — growing to reach lengths of 26 to 33 feet (8 to 11 meters), reportedly. Modern estimates suggest that adults could reach weights of between 8 and 10 tons. Some individuals may well have been larger though. It’s been classified within Sirenia.

Sea cow Stellar's
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Deforestation Threshold Revealed By New Research — When Exceeded, Extinctions Surge

March 13, 2015 in Animals & Insects, Humans, Plants

A ‘threshold’ for deforestation’s effect on biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest has been uncovered by new research from Cambridge University.

When this newly revealed forest-cover deforestation threshold is exceeded, extinctions surge in the regions affected — with extinctions becoming both more rapid and also more widespread.

Deforestation Amazon Rainforest
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