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Save the Starfish: Deoxygenated 'Dead Zones' Threatening Marine Life


Save the Starfish: Deoxygenated 'Dead Zones' Threatening Marine Life

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Imperiling fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and myriad other marine creatures, climate change is sapping the oceans of oxygen, according to a new study that warns of widespread deoxygenation within decades.

Using models and maps, researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, were able to quantify and differentiate between large-scale changes in oxygen in the oceans due to both natural variability and climate change.


Starfish? The reality this unfortunate headline obscures is that all complex marine life is now circling the drain. The global ocean is dying before our eyes.

Our collective failure to grasp the full scope of what humanity is doing is partially due to the nature of scientific studies, which generally take a piecemeal approach to ecological threats. It's the confluence of multiple threats which confronts marine organisms: warming, acidification, toxic and radioactive pollution, sea level rise, eutrophication (overabundance of nitrogen from fertilizer runoff), deafening military and industrial sonar, overfishing (i.e. fishing), invasive species... it's difficult to compile a comprehensive list. Several of these could be enough alone to kill the global ocean in decades. The combination virtually guarantees a marine extinction event outstripping the worst in Earth's history, in a matter of years.

For those who perceive no intrinsic value in lifeforms which have taken hundreds of millions of years to evolve before getting snuffed out by the human catastrophe, it bears mentioning that dead, stagnant oceans give rise to blooms of anoxic bacteria which have, in the past, emitted enough hydrogen sulfide gas to poison most terrestrial species, including us.


We have been being warned for many decades the risks - intertwined and interdependent, all cascading, of man's utter failure of stewardship. Now, absent any real leadership from politicians, all subservient to global capitalism and "growth", we say Bye de Bye to the late great Mother Earth. not all the technology in the world or Jesus will put Humpty Dumpty back together again.......once fallen.



I would add to your list of ocean catastrophes the ongoing radioactive leakage from Fukushima.


Which part of this don't the Koch(k) Brothers understand?


And so we come full circle since life as we know it on our home planet began in the waters and by them will we vanish. When the Earth recovers hope new species will be a lot smarter.


Dead zones are not caused by oil rigs.


Your insults can't hide that you are wrong. People like you don't belong on progressive sites. This forum is for intelligent discussion not schoolyard insults and abuse. If you think I am wrong then simply show me. Cite some proof for example. But then I suppose you tried to find some but all you could come up with for a response was name calling. It is inappropriate and both crude and childish.


In Under a Green Sky, Peter D. Ward argues that H2S emitted by anaerobic bacteria from "Dead Zones" provided the coup de grace for almost all marine and terrestrial life in most of the mass extinctions in Earth's history.


I repeat that oil rigs do not cause dead zones. Agricultural (nitrogen) and chemical (phosphorus) runoffs emptying into the sea cause a massive over fertilization of the seawater which results in the creation of an algal bloom (Cyanobacteria) that are not eaten by plankton and fish et al and accumulates, subsequently dies and then decomposes which robs the water of O2 (hypoxia) resulting in a dead zone. This is called eutrophication.

You might restrain the herd impulse to insult me just because I corrected a bit of the dumbing down that is overwhelming us.

By the way an oil rig is not an oil spill. It is a floating platform which drills for undersea oil.


Have you no shame? An apology might have been more dignified and honorable since my few words were in fact correct and unlike you and others, I did not insult anyone. He had it wrong and you jumped in to heap more insult but for what reason? Now you try to make excuses for being creepy like some Trump supporters act? Welcome to the herd!! I wonder what that must feel like?


This too short, low info article should mention the 2-300 mile dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi from ag runoff, the Chesapeake fish die off, the dead zone at the mouth of the Klamath, chlorinating Baja's gray whale breeding ground for underwater Titanic filming, toxic algae blooms all over, sea lion pup mortality, sardine season closed on the entire US west coast in 2015, Atlantic cod gone, Heavy metal waste from Hunters point Naval shipyard, lost nukes & munitions, coral bleaching, salmon carrying heavy metals upstream in Alaska during the spawning die off, whale beachings to escape navy sonar, ...... I have to go to work so that's the short list.
The crisis is ongoing, not in 2030 or 2040 as the article mis-states; though you wouldn't know it from watching Toyota & Suburu adds with fancy autos in every 'pristine' area.

Surprise! Below: hypoxic zones surround most heavily populated industrialized economies!