Deep Ocean Ecosystem Faces Starvation Before End Of Century.
As ocean plankton pastures become desolate clear blue deserts above they are no longer feeding the mysterious deep ocean below, it is becoming a clear black desert.
Restoration of ocean pastures becomes the single top to bottom hope for all of ocean life.
New research published in the journal Elementa (read it here) shows that food supply to much of the earth’s deep oceans will be halved before the end of this century as the deep abyss turns into a clear black desert.
An international team of ocean scientists from 20 of the world’s top ocean institutes studied deep ocean survey histories and built deep ocean ecosystem models to consider the plight of the deep oceans. With countless reports of the collapse of the surface ocean plankton blooms, the ocean pastures, turning the surface ocean into clear blue deserts they hypothesized that collapse would be mirror deep below. Indeed this report clearly shows the collapse of ocean photosynthesis is also killing deep ocean life, like the leader of the deep ocean world pictured above, the grumpy bottom feeding Tiny Finned Orange Frog Mouth.
Alas the authors, ever dutiful to from where so much scientific bread is buttered, lead by including a prominent role for climate change in their fine paper. They opine that the oceans are a major sink for CO2, oceans thus help to buffer multiple aspects of global climate change and their effects on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They do clearly state that deep-sea ecological processes and characteristics, such as nutrient cycling, trophic (aka food chain) support, productivity, habitat provision, and carbon sequestration, underlie the healthy functioning of ocean ecosystems and provide valuable ecosystem services to both Nature and humankind. Fortunately they do next dive into the really important facts of ocean change as being the more immediate and greater concern than climate change.
The team looked at the bottom of the deep sea in many places from the Arctic to Antarctic oceans, focusing on the ‘bathyal’ (less than 10,000 ft deep) and the ‘abyssal’ (more than 10,000 ft deep) As well as studying how the deep oceans’ food sources have and will change, the team examined a wide array of impacts that rapidly changing ocean ecology will suffer.
“The rate of change underway in our oceans is faster than at any point we know of in geological history,” said Andy Sweetman one of the lead authors.
“Deep seafloor ecosystems provide services that are vitally important to the entire ocean and biosphere; we should all be concerned at what’s happening on our ocean floors. The organic matter cycling that occurs in the deep sea helps to buffer the ocean against pH changes and the effects of ocean acidification.”
The changes that they observed and are projecting for the deep ocean are nothing short of apocalyptic. Keep in mind that the oceans cover 72% of our blue planet and the ‘deep ocean’ as defined in this work accounts for more than 95 percent of the volume of the Earth’s oceans. One could hardly imagine alternative facts that could stand in opposition to the fact that as goes the fate of this largest of all parts of the living zone on Earth so goes the rest of the planet.
“Because many deep-sea environments are naturally very stable in terms of environmental conditions, even slight changes in food supply, temperature, oxygen, and pH are likely to significantly lower the resilience of deep-sea communities to the impact of human activity,” said Lisa Levin, another of the team.
“These many challenges call for intensified observations of and spatial planning for the deep ocean, coordinated at an international level.”
Most of the deep sea currently experiences a severe lack of food, but according to Sweetman and his research team, it is about to receive even less. That’s because the phytoplankton deep sea organisms rely upon come from the ocean pastures at the surface where the grass of the sea, the phytoplankton, are rapidly disappearing as the oceans turn into depauperate clear blue deserts.
Those ocean pastures at the top of the oceans and ocean food chain provide a steady supply of nutrients to the deep ocean much in the same way that leaves falling from trees nourish the soil of a forest. The steady fall of plankton leaves/leavings is known as marine snow, it is the most precious of all natural resources in the deep ocean.
Abyssal ocean environments, which are over 3,000 meters deep, are some of the most food-deprived regions on the planet. These habitats currently rely on less carbon, aka plankton biomass leavings, per square meter each year than is present in a single sugar cube. The team of the world’s top ocean scientists have shown that large areas of the abyss will see this already tiny ration of food halved by 2100. For a habitat that represents ~69% of the habitable earth, the global impacts of this cataclysmic ocean change will be enormous.
The researchers also describe an imminent, significant temperature increase that will happen even in the deepest parts of the ocean.
“Deep-sea ecosystems are not just going to experience a reduction in food, but will likely also experience an increase in ocean temperature of 1°C within 85 years,” said Andrew Thurber, co-author.
“This is very worrying because increasing temperature will increase the metabolism of animals and microbes that live in the sediment, meaning they will require more food at a time when much less is available.”
Here is some deep ocean knowledge the authors neglected to include
The ocean is not a giant static test tube where simple physics can explain all. It is a living breathing life force whose body of complexity is to our human form what our single star system is to our universe. That’s very very very complex!
OK if you must, here’s the Team Metaphor for our planet
The all important life of the ocean indeed of everything on this blue planet derives from the capture and management of the sun’s energy via plant photosynthesis. We humans like to think our team, go terrans, today numbering a few billions are the all important part of life on Earth. It is really the countless tiny ocean life forms, team plankton, that really hold sway over their blue planet.
At our peril we ignore the ocean micro team, team plankton! They are dwindling fast as a result of our rapacious appetite for burning fossil fuels and wantonly sending trillions of tonnes of CO2, aka plant sugar, into our world of photosynthesis. All that sugar, aka CO2, has stimulated plant growth into global chaos on Earth like feeding an endless supply of chocolate chip cookies and Coca Cola to a mighty mites soccer team of 7 yr. old children.
Once flourishing now dying ocean pastures have forever made our blue planet habitable for themselves and us.
We are far from being a key component, we’re more like tolerated tenants with pets, and we best stop the barking and making ourselves obnoxious or else, read the plankton landlords letter here.
In the beginning this planet was and is simply tooo close to our sun for comfort. But Mother Nature had an ‘app for that’. She and her plankton pastures simply evolved a very functional thermostatic control system that shades us from the sun and keeps us in the Goldilock’s Zone, not too hot, not too cold, but ahhh …. just right. (Hint: Plankton make our cooling clouds.)
One of the ways our planktonic cheerleader/teacher Goldilocks has been taking care of her blue planet and ours is by not merely growing plankton at the surface like some dumb crop of grass. She evolved legions of ocean pasture tending creatures whose job it is to sustainably tend to those pastures and in return the pastures feed them and their families in an endless circle of life.
Winds and tides and swimming plankton each provide one trillion watts of power to drive the motion of the ocean. Swirling ocean pasture eddies, that move in 3 dimensions are made and sustained by the very ocean life that inhabit those pastures.
Every night the largest migration of life on Earth takes place in ocean pastures. It’s the nightly swimming and paddling of trillions and more tiny plankton critters swimming up to the surface to feed in the safety of darkness and back down as dawn breaks that stirs the ocean vertically.
Gaia is smiling at it taking us so long to unravel one of her mysteries.
Why this post is about salvation for the oceans and NOT just more impossible Doom and Gloom?
We can replenish and restore ocean ecosystems to historic health and abundance and in doing so save our blue planet for all of ocean life and ourselves. The means to do so neither requires the assembled political multitudes of ‘climate change’ bureaucrats and advocates nor does it require the trillions of dollars in new climate taxes (and tax collectors). For a sum likely about the same as the world of climate changes budget for coffee breaks ocean pastures in all of the world’s seven seas can be immediately restore to health and abundance.
Through ocean pasture restoration the nutritious carbon sinking marine snow will be returned to the world’s deep ocean ecosystems ending their dire imminent doom from deep ocean snow drought. The wonderful orange leader of the deep ocean world, the orange frog fish will be sustained along with all manner of other low life.
Trillions of tiny ocean swim team members will once again stir the ocean and keep it in motion sustaining the production of oxygen on this planet that just happens to take place by the repurposing of trillions of tonnes of what would be otherwise deadly ocean killing CO2 into new life.
Best of all ocean pasture restoration just works and it does so in a time frame of mere years, not even decades, let alone centuries, or Melania. Join me.