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STUDY: Mass extinction threatens ocean life

21 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change

Ocean life remains on the brink of mass extinction due to climate change and over-fishing an International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) study found.

"We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation," the study—which is to be presented before the U.N.—warned. 

"Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean," it said.

A combination of nitrogen run-off induced anoxia, rising temperatures from climate change, and acidification from increased carbon pollution has created a deadly trio in which vital ecosystems cannot adapt. 

Fish and ocean life remain the primary source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population.

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