Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change

by krysisidore on March 12, 2018 - 10:53am

The sole purpose of the article “Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change” written by Kavya Balaraman is to explain to us how resilient our marine ecosystem is despite the effects of climate change. The main issue of changes on the marine ecosystem is mainly due to pollution and climate changing. The main points the author of this article uses to explain how damaging climate change, is with the use of researches done by scientists that show the resilience of oceanic life to pollution and their ability to regenerate themselves. Although it is a good thing that marine life is resilient and capable of overcoming many hardships of climate change, it can take them up to a couple of decades before they can regenerate themselves fully and this is if they are under the proper conditions as cited by Giulio De Leo “Reducing or removing additional causes of stress whenever possible, such as pollution and sediment transport, is also a key factor to promote resilience in the majority of coastal marine ecosystems.” This goes to show how damaging and serious climate change is not only to us humans, but to the many diverse ecosystems of our planets. For example, in western California as cited by Kavya “a reef lost 90 percent of its live coral after a bleaching event”. It took this reef 12 year to restore just 44 percent of its normal size. Many will say that it is a great thing how resilient this reef is and how amazing it is for it ability to restore its size but, the time lapse it took for it to restore just 44 percent of its normal state is still shocking. In 12 years we have certainly risen our rates of global warming and green gas to an extensive level. Which in other words, the rate at which the oceanic life is capable of restoring itself to its initial state after suffering damage from climate changes is not as nearly as fast and effective as the increase rate of global warming all around the world. But despite all this, the capability of the oceanic life to restore itself is a major advancement for scientist in figuring out more about the marine ecosystem and finding methods to help preserve and protect it as explained in the article “Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change” by Kavya Balaraman. Also Cited by Jennifer O’Leary, marine conservation biologist with California Polytechnic State University and leader of the study, as she explains how “[this] could provide [scientists] information on local conditions that could bolster ecosystems and guide their strategies [in protecting] protect them”.


In a way, despite the increasing rate of global warming we induce on the planet earth, it will always be an astonishment to how strong this big blue planet withstands all the damage we give to it. It has been beaten sometimes but it has also managed to overcome many hardships as well. By understanding the resilience of the marine ecosystem, scientists could possibly understand how other ecosystems on earth resist to many damaging factors of climate changes and create methods to protect and even resist the consequences of climate changes. This doesn’t mean that we must entirely depend on the resilience of ecosystems to fight off global warming. Despite that this summary speaks highly of the resilience of the marine ecosystem, it is mainly to show how important and damaging climate changing really is. We human beings, as the main source of this catastrophic event must find a way to reduce the excessive amount of green gas we produce daily. Ways to fight of the excessive quantity of pollution we dump into oceans and green lands. Methods to help regenerates the branches of marine, litho, bio and many more ecosystems that are on the brink of extinctions. By doing so, we won’t have to have a situation where a reef in Australia must wait 12 years to restore 44 percent of its initial state after losing 90 percent of it due to a piteous bleaching event we are responsible for.

Balaraman, K. (2017) Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change. Scientific American.


What makes this article summary so appealing to me is how you explain the underrated resilient factor of marine ecosystems. I was not aware that Nature was capable of such feats, hence I was very much impressed when I read about it. Since you mentioned that discovering such a degree of resilience from marine ecosystems could help scientists figure out methods to preserve the oceanic life, I would like to expand on that proposition with previous readings that I did. After discovering how resilient marine ecosystems can be, researchers are now playing with variables in order to make them even more robust. However, there are still many challenges during the procedure. For instance, a method that increases resilience in the short term will not necessarily work best in the long term. Also, if natural selection improves the resilience of a marine ecosystem by imposing on it specific environmental conditions, scientists cannot expect to maintain that level of robustness if they change other conditions. All in all, modifying ecosystems presents many risks. Subtle trade-offs could also happen: an ecosystem could become very adaptable to one set of conditions, but weak against other types of environments. Scientists have come to the realization that what works best for a local community of marine species may not be viable on a regional or global level. That being said, all these obstacles that the scientific community are facing in their attempts to protect marine ecosystems only point to what you mentioned earlier: we cannot depend on the resilience of ecosystems to fight off global warming. Finding safe and accurate scientific solutions will take time, but we cannot afford to wait: we must start right now by reducing our production of pollution and our emission of greenhouse gases.

Levin, S. A. & Lubchenco J. (2008). Resilience, Robustness, and Marine Ecosystem-based Management. BioScience, 58(1), 27-32. doi:10.1641/B580107

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