Silent Seas

by cehlert on October 7, 2016 - 10:55pm

The oceans are in trouble because noise is being drowned out. I recently read an article about how CO2 emissions are being rapidly absorbed by the ocean and this is increasing ocean acidification. This is causing a lot of trouble in the ocean because many ocean creatures use sound to find mates, locate the reefs and find food but ocean acidification is making this difficult. One creature is a small snapping shrimp, called pistol shrimp; they live in the coral reefs and snap their claws to communicate. If you put your head under water near the coastline it sounds like small clicking sounds or pebbles rolling around on the ocean floor.  Other animals like clown fish use these noises to locate the coral reefs after they hatch. Ocean acidification is a problem for these fish because it disrupts their brain functioning. So what does this have to do with the clicking shrimp? The excess CO2 can change the way these fish think and they become more fearless and don’t care about finding the reef, so they often become food. Ocean acidification is also causing the kelp forests in coral reefs to be replaced by carpets of mat-forming algae and these carpets absorb much more noise than the kelp forests. Not only do the baby fish have severe brain malfunctioning due to ocean acidification but also the noise from the snapping shrimp is muffled thanks to the new carpet-like algae, making it near impossible for these baby fish to make it to the reef.

Its sad to think about these poor little fish who can not make it to their home because we are essentially drugging them with CO2 and they just don’t care. This is a very difficult situation because it revolves around a great deal of uncertainty. We can look at this issue along the certainty continuum to try and decide how to view the issue. Firstly we can look at the silent sea through indeterminacy meaning that we have a lack of understanding about the issue, which in all fairness might be true, however we can’t afford to leave this issue alone long enough while thousands of species are dying. Secondly we could look at the issue through a lens of ignorance, but that is not possible now because we are reading about it as we speak! The other two ways are by looking at it with uncertainty and the element of risk. The ocean is both a complicated and uncertain place to humans and we will never fully understand its complexity, however we can try and reduce the amount of CO2 we pump in the atmosphere in hopes of saving a few fishes lives. The oceans are a flow resource meaning the sea levels might rise and fall as well as fish stocks but it is not fair to knowingly harm these fish in our greed to use more fossil fuels. With the help of a few policy implementation tools I think it is possible to lower our carbon footprint and help the marine ecosystems to regain some strength. Institutional tools like ministries of environment are good resources to help provide services that can lower our CO2 emission. They can help guide procedural instruments to modify the decision-making policies regarding the environment and the substantive policy instruments like laws and regulations could really all make it happen. I think if this all worked together we could help save shrimp and little clown fish and it would help us all sleep silently.

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Hi Cehlert,

This is such a great post! Your blog-writing skills are so great. I was initially drawn into your post by your title - short, catchy, and myserteous. I definitely wouldn't have guessed you were writing about ocean acidification, and to be honest I skipped through a number of other blog posts with "ocean acidification" in the title because I didn't think the topic was of particular interest to me. However, you changed my mind! The style of your writing, the organization of your post, and the concepts you focussed on have really influenced my understanding of ocean acidification and the impacts it poses to aquatic ecosystems.

I like how you included some facts about the issue in the introduction, then went on to express your own opinion, and finally concluded with potential solutions such as policy implementation. It is clear that you are passionate about this topic, and your passion has transferred into really effective writing. You also did an awesome job of incorporating some of the topics discussed in class into your blog post (such as the concepts of uncertainty, institutional tools, and procedural instruments). It is evident that you truly understand the main factors of environmental management and you are able to apply them in real-life situations.

Finally, I really liked the way your concluding sentence tied into your title and the way you have structured your entire post around "silent" seas.

Great job!


Wow, what a cool blog post! I was lured into reading your post through a combination of the intriguing title and an interesting couple of introduction sentences. I have heard plenty of the effects of acidification on the health of various ocean populations but I had never heard of the acidification and CO2 levels breaking communication methods between sea creatures.

I thought it was great how you incorporated a lot of in-class content in your post such as resource types and the role uncertainty plays in resource management. This article drew on a lot of similarities from an article I recently read about how the Great Barrier Reef is being negatively affected by changes in ocean temperatures and rising acidification. My main concern with the effects of ocean acidification, CO2 levels, and rising temperatures is how are we supposed to realistically combat the issue? Pollution of the oceans is such a widespread issue where it is impossible to target specific individuals to change their ways because all industry is contributing to this and the waterways are common pool resources. The only way I can see decreases in ocean pollution happening is if there is mass global reform in the energy and industry sector which unfortunately I do not see as being something that is realistic.

Hi there,
Great tittle and interesting post!
I also wrote a blog about ocean acidification and its affect to the marine biodiversity, but reading your post was very refreshing because you stated a different issue caused by it. Many, including myself, often associate ocean acidification with coral reef destruction; thus, when I learned that CO2 can influence the sound cycle in the ocean, I was very amused but of course sad at the same time.
I also thought one of the most effective solution for this problem is using the restriction tool, where the government legislates law or policies, restricting the pollution emission. However, in the article I read, the author and her interviewer claimed that the regulation tool was not enough. They believed this tool will work in the short run but, it is uncertain if it will work for long run. Therefore, they argued that there has to be a better solution if we want to fight against some of the most complicated issues in the world. One of the suggestions was to study how marine animals could adapt to the pollution level in the ocean, and also study how to bring up the level of pH in the ocean. What do you think of this proposition? Do you agree that advance research could change the concerns? Personally, I think it is definitely worth to try. I also think increasing the awareness of this anthropogenic pollution will definitely make a change as well.