Arctic Ocean Could See More Invasive Species as Waters Warm

Written by on November 5, 2013 in Marine Life, Physical Oceanography

Daily Summary

Global Warming as Viewed from the Deep Ocean
To prove that global warming isn’t an issue, some climate change skeptics point to the fact that global atmospheric temperatures have been stable (or even declining) over the past decade. Climate scientists, however, say that the excess heat that we’re producing goes into the oceans, which have acted as a buffer against global warming for the past 60 years. A new study reveals that the ocean is now absorbing heat 15 times faster than it has over the last 10,000 years. The researchers say that we may have underestimated ocean’s ability to store heat and energy, and while it might slow the effects of climate change down, it’s certainly not going to stop climate change altogether.

Coast Guard ships in the Arctic Ocean.

Coast Guard ships in the Arctic Ocean. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey via photopin cc.

Stowaways Threaten Fisheries in the Arctic
The predicted increase in sea temperatures by 2100 will lead to a sixfold increase in the potential number of species introduced to the Arctic Ocean by ships, according to a new study. The cold waters have long prevented invasive species from establishing themselves in the Arctic after being released in a ship’s ballast water, but this will change as the ocean gets warmer. In addition to making the Arctic Ocean more habitable for invasive species, warmer waters will also lead to an increase in ship traffic through the Northeast and Northwest Passages. The study showed that up to one third of the 155 ships that entered the ports of Svalbard in 2011 came from ports that will match the environment in Svalbard in the future, increasing the risk of stowaways establishing themselves.

Wasting disease devastating starfish along Sonoma Coast
We’ve shared this terrible topic before but unfortunately, scientists aren’t any closer to understanding the cause of sea star wasting disease. Starfish along the West Coast of the U.S. from Alaska to Santa Barbara are dying in a very gruesome way. Wasting disease has killed up to 95 percent of sea stars in some tide pool populations. You can see what the disease does to the starfish in the following video:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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