Marine extinctions and conservation
- 708 Downloads
In contrast to the large number of terrestrial extinctions that have taken place over the past 12,000 years, there have apparently been very few marine extinctions. But these small losses should not be reason for complacency. During the past 50 years, government supported, commercial fishing has resulted in the collapse of about a thousand populations that once supplied most of the world’s seafood. For the collapsed species, now existing as small remnants of their former population sizes, the future is bleak. They suffer from loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding depression, and depensation. Because marine species were eliminated by historic climatic changes, continued global warming is likely to result in the extinction of small populations that already have a precarious existence. They may be considered evidence of an extinction debt that must be paid as the climate change becomes more severe. For some of the remnant species, extinction can be avoided if there is a rapid management conversion to the use of more marine protected areas (MPAs) and extensive ocean zoning where fishing is prohibited.
KeywordsCoral Reef Marine Species Marine Protected Area Bluefin Tuna Relict Population
I wish to thank Brian W. Bowen for his useful suggestions and E. A. Hanni for her proof reading assistance.
- Abbott RT (1960) The genus Strombus in the Indo-Pacific. Indo-Pac Mollusca 1:33–146Google Scholar
- Baillie JEM, Hilton-Taylor C, Stuart SN (2004) Red list of threatened species. Global species assessment. IUCN, Gland, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- Ceballos G, Garcia A, Ehrlich PR (2010) The sixth extinction crisis. J Cosmol 8:1821–1831Google Scholar
- Dulvy NK, Pinnegar JK, Reynolds JD (2008) Holocene extinctions in the sea. In: Turvey ST (ed) Holocene extinctions. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 129–150Google Scholar
- Lindberg DR (1991) Marine biotic interchange between northern and southern hemispheres. Paleobiology 17:308–324Google Scholar
- Pauly D, Maclean J (2003) In a perfect ocean. The state of fisheries and ecosystems in the North Atlantic ocean. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Reaka-Kudla ML (1997) The global biodiversity of coral reefs: a comparison with rain forests. In: Reaka-Kudla ML, Wilson DE, Wilson EO (eds) Biodiversity II: understanding and protecting our natural resources. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, pp 83–108Google Scholar
- Roberts C (2007) The unnatural history of the sea. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Sepkoski JJ (1998) Rates of speciation in the fossil record. Proc Roy Soc Lond B 353:315–326Google Scholar