© 2019 by ocean everblue.

#keeptheoceaneverblue

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  • Many people are aware that coral reefs are facing extreme bleaching events in the face of global climate change, but did you know that sea sponges can bleach, too? A 2008 paper studied the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta and found that increased water temperatures can lead to increased expression of the heat stress protein gene hsp70. Increased hsp70 is associated with fatal bleaching in sponges.

>> Bleaching and stress in coral reef ecosystems: hsp70 expression by the giant barrel sponge Xestospongia muta. Susanna Lopez-Legentil et al. 2008.

 

  • Deoxygenation, or the loss of oxygen, in the ocean can cause large changes in productivity, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling. Recent analyses from around the world show that oxygen minimum zones in the open ocean have increased by several million square kilometers and hundreds of coastal sites have low enough oxygen to limit the abundance and distribution of animal populations as well as alter important nutrient cycles.

>> Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters. Breitburg et al. 2018.

 

  • Many Pacific Island nations rely on coral reefs for resources, protection, and cultural significance. However, as the climate begins to warm these islands are vulnerable from sea level rise, limited land, and many other effects. In a study on coral reef growth on the islands of Yap and Palau, scientists predict inner reefs are at risk of not being able to grow fast enough to keep up with sea level rise.

>> Keeping up with sea-level rise: Carbonate production rates in Palau and Yap, western Pacific Ocean. Robert Van Woesik and Christopher William Cacciapaglia. 2018.

 

  • When the upper layers of the ocean are warmed by climate change, the ocean becomes more stratified. This means that warm water stays at the surface while colder, denser water stays at depth. This reduces seawater mixing and affects nutrient availability and primary production.

>> The impact of climate change on the world’s marine ecosystems. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and John F. Bruno. 2010.