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.
Article Retieved from: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2016/0...