The marine biome is the largest habitat on Earth. It covers 75% of the Earth. The marine biome consists of the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Southern and Arctic Oceans. Inside the marine biome, there are marine algae that gives off oxygen to the whole world and they are also responsible for absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air.
Moreover, there are thousands of marine animals and plants that maintain the balance of the ocean ecosystem. But for the recent years, the marine biome is facing many threats and danger due to a number of reasons. So here are 17 Threats to the Marine Biome that people should be aware of.
1. Rising Temperature of Sea Water
Global warming is basically defined as the increase of temperature inside the earth due to pollutants, such as carbon dioxide or CFCs. The way global warming affects the marine biome is by raising its temperature gradually over the years. (Read: Threats to Marine Life )
The rising temperature of sea water is a serious threat since marine animals and plants are very sensitive to slight changes in temperature. Continuous increase in temperature will eventually wipe out plenty of creatures that live in the sea.
2. Marine Creatures Sold as Souvenirs
Sometimes, we encounter people trying to sell objects within coastal areas. At a closer inspection, these objects are actually parts of marine creatures such as shells or corals. They are turned into necklaces or other kinds of jewellery. (Also read: Types of Dolphins)
A more serious case is when vulnerable parts of marine creatures are also sold as souvenirs. They may include teeth from sharks or the fur of a seal. These objects are illegal and clearly endanger wild species. They are hunted as souvenirs for money.
3. Toxic Industrial Waste
Although there are rules and regulations that industries must follow in order to preserve the environment, some do get away with it. Some industries will still dump their toxic industrial waste into areas or rivers nearby the site. This toxic waste flow along with the river water right into the sea. When this happens, the sea water will experience a serious contamination that puts all the animals and plants inside the marine biome in danger.
4. Overload of Noise from Ships
The machineries used in the operation of ships can be quite loud and noisy. There are hundreds of ships passing through the sea every day and this certainly takes a toll on everything that lives inside the marine biome. (Read: Types of Ocean Birds)
Unfortunately, the ones that are most affected from this overload noise from ships are the marine animals. Reportedly it can cause stress, a change in their swimming pattern or even haemorrhages.
5. Shark Finning
Shark finning is the practice of removing fins from sharks that are still alive. Once their fins are taken away, the sharks are thrown into the water. Without fins, the sharks can’t swim and will eventually meet their death. Shark finning is popular because they can bring in a lot of money. It is especially popular for making soups in China. Each year, shark finning causes 100 million of sharks death. (Read more: Endangered Species in the Ocean Biome)
6. Taking Marine Creatures Into Captivity
Marine mammals are constantly captured from their natural habitat into captivity. These mammals include dolphins, seals or whales. They are put into smaller areas and taught tricks as entertainment. (Also read: Prevention of Marine Pollution)
People will pay a lot of money to watch them. However, this often causes premature deaths to the marine creatures. It shortens their lives because they are stressed and pressured inside a small environment. This captivity practice definitely threatens their species population.
7. Dolphin Hunt
Dolphin hunt is considered as a cultural event in Japan. During this event, more than thousands of dolphins or whales are killed because of their meat. Other than that, they also bring a large sum of money for the fishermen. Even though there might be quotas set for those who participate, this act of hunting is inhumane. Moreover, it also reduces the dolphins’ and whales’ population. (Read more: Types of Sea Lions)
8. Trawling from Ships
Trawling from ships is a common method for fishing. By trawling, huge nets are thrown into the water. They usually end up deep into the very bottom of the ocean. This highly threaten the marine biome as there could be many illegal marine creatures caught in the nets. (Find out more: Major Ocean Basins)
Marine animals that are not meant to be caught will also die along with the target fish. Moreover, this act of trawling drags on the bottom of the ocean floor, wrecking everything that is on its path.
9. Habitat Destruction
Habitat destruction inside the marine biome is caused due to multiple natural occurrence but mostly human actions. Contamination, pollution, ships are some of the culprits of habitat destruction. The fact is that only an extremely small percentage of the ocean is protected. Others are open for damage. If the number of habitat destruction continues to increase then marine creatures will lose their homes. They will no longer have shelter and may have to face death.
Dredging is an act of removing sediments or sands from the bottom of the ocean. The reason for this is to create paths for ships so they can easily pass through. Dredging can be a good thing because it can also remove toxic materials and pollutants from the sea floor. (Read: Types of Sea Snakes)
However, it does come at a cost. Dredging will cause a change in the composition of minerals of the ocean water. When this happens, some marine animals or plants may find it hard to adapt and die.
Plastic is a useful material but it can be the worst pollutant for the marine biome. Most plastics will take decades to degrade. As they also end up in the ocean, they pose serious threat to marine animals. Those animals will think that plastic is their food. But eating plastic will not give them any good nutrients for their bodies. In turn, their health and overall condition will keep degrading until they die. (Read more: Types of Small Ocean Fish)
12. Worsening Climate
Climate is something that we do not have a control of. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse each year due to human activities. Marine mammals such as seals are vulnerable to this. For instance, the seals that live in the Arctic are experiencing a habitat loss. This is because the ice are melting and they can’t find a place to raise their young ones. This highly hinders their opportunity to flourish. (Also read: Types of Ocean Bacteria)
13. Acidic Sea Water
The sea water functions as an absorbent for harmful gasses in the air such as carbon dioxide. But humans release an excessive amount of pollutants into the air. This means that the sea water also takes in a lot of it. (Read more: Endangered Animals in Coral Reef)
This results in an increased level of acid in the water. Acidic water is not a good condition for marine animals as it limits certain growth. The more acidic sea water is, the more marine organisms will die.
14. Sound Disturbance from Human Activities
Human activities generate a lot of noise. This can come from ships or drilling for oils in the middle of the ocean. Noise disturbance disturbs the way marine animals live their lives. Most of them depends on sound to see their food or to simply migrate from one place to another. This applies mostly to dolphins and whales. When there are other noise coming into their environment then it will cause a lot of confusion.
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15. Accidental Ship Strikes
Small or huge passing ships may accidentally strike marine mammals while traveling across the ocean water. Most often, these mammals are dolphins. The more ships there are in the water, the higher chance there is for dolphins to get striked. If there is a high amount of dolphins striked annually, then it may cause a decline in the dolphin population. (Also read: Water Snails Facts)
16. Oil Spillage
Time and time again, oil spillage occurs in the ocean. Oil spillage may be minor or major. Ships may leave behind traces of oil behind them as they pass through oceans. But major oil spillage can also occur due to accidents. To clean up oil from the ocean is no easy task. (Read more: Human Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef)
It requires time and a lot of resources. However, if it takes too long to clean up then marine creatures are at risk of being poisoned. Some may even immediately die when they come in contact with the oil.
17. Fertilizers and Pesticides from Agriculture
Agriculture use many chemicals for their crops. The fertilizers help them to grow better and healthier. As for the pesticides, they help to ward off pests or diseases that aim to attack the crops. Both fertilizers and pesticides immensely affect the positive growth of crops. (Read more: Types of Abalone)
But they do affect the ocean water too. The residues from these chemicals may end up in the marine biome. They don’t have the same effect for animals and plants as they do with crops. They keep crops alive but may kill marine organisms.
- Types of Ocean Storms
- Types of Jellyfish in The Atlantic Ocean
- Endangered Tuna Species
- Effects of La Nina
If these threats continue to harm the marine biome, then someday we may have to face the consequences of no longer having a working and balanced ecosystem. It can drive many species to extinction and we may also suffer from it. But if we begin to work on reducing these threats, then we can allow the marine biome to heal.