Changing the Oceans

How is a changing climate is influencing the health of the ocean and shifting or constraining opportunities to conserve, restore, and sustainably manage the ocean?

Meet the people fighting to save the world's coral reefs

By Amelia Urry


We know that reefs are crucial to the oceans as we know them, and to our societies as we’ve made them — and we know they are in serious trouble. According to one 2000 report, we’ve lost 27 percent of coral worldwide, and stand to lose another 32 percent in the next 30 years. What we don’t know is if there’s anything we can do about it. Luckily, that won’t stop people from trying: Around the world, a scrappy handful of scientists, entrepreneurs, and volunteers are taking on this colossal problem, one branch at a time.

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Global oceans under climate change

By Dr. William Cheung

Changing Ocean Research Unit; Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Here’s a test. Try to list five reasons why the oceans are important to life on earth. It may get a bit difficult when you are down to reason number four or five. Now, describe how the things you just listed would be affected by CO2 emissions caused by human activities. You may think that I am expecting too much from you. I am not. These facts are as important as knowing why water is essential to the world and how polluting it would affect us.

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The hatchery and the refugia: Restocking shellfish populations in acidified areas

By Julia Sanders,

Managing Editor, Ocean Acidification Report

While the ocean is alkaline, and will always be that way, ocean acidification is the term used to describe the process of the ocean gradually becoming more acidic due to absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. Nearly a third of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere are absorbed by the ocean. Once upon a time people thought that was a good thing: that the ocean was doing us a favor, and there would be no additional consequences. 

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Underwater Earth and the XL Catlin Seaview Survey

By Kelsey Nowakowski

National Geographic

Making impactful, visual indicators of our changing climate isn’t an easy task. Climate change is a gradual process, so it’s difficult to visibly show people what’s happening. Our oceans are changing, but we don’t notice the centimeter waters have risen or the amount they’re acidifying. But coral bleaching and reef decline are capturable: There are stark visual differences between thriving coral reefs and ones that have bleached as a result of warming oceans.

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