The NOVA documentary, ‘Lethal Seas’, offers us a uniquewindow into the past, present and future of coral reefs. The documentary raisesthe awareness about the rate of ocean acidification in our oceans, and howthis is already impacting marine life. The ocean covers more than two-thirds ofour planet, its power is tremendous and its importance to life is immense. As Ph levels are dropping, ocean acidity risesthreatening our planet’s most valuable treasures and attacking the ocean’sfundamental web of life.The narrator tells us that”something is changing in the sea.
” That something is the water’s chemistry. Therising carbon emissions that are caused by burning fossil fuels, covers theearth’s atmosphere, raises the global temperature and a quarter of that gas isabsorbed into the oceans. Carbon dioxide is entering our seas at a staggeringrate raising ocean acidity by 5 percent each decade. According to the documentary,coral reefs are a fertile place filled with exotic creatures and are home to aquarter of all marine species and millions of people live from this foodsource. Scientists did their research at Papua New Guinea and showed us the experimentsthey have done to find out what the effects are of low Ph levels.
The reefs aremade up of calcium carbonate and limestone which makes it extremely vulnerableto acid. Tiny sea creatures that live in and aroundcoral reefs are at the bottom of the food chain and have been greatly affected bytheir dying homes. If higher acidity reduces or wipes out populations ofthese creatures it may have a chain of reaction leading to extinction.
The programreveals that this has happened before. The end of the Permian Era, there was anincrease of volcanism which spiked Co2 levels and lead to the extinction of alllife.It goes in-depth into aserious threat that deserves awareness and more recognition.
Evidence that coralreefs or fish can adapt to C02 is slim, resulting in a global threat. This doesnot bode well for marine animals, but also, for the human race. And, I understoodthat unless this problem is slowed down or stopped completely, the extinctionof dreadfully significant number of oceanic species will greatly hasten.