Marine life.

Following up on Dave's post about the multimedia piece in the LA Times. It actually covers a whole range of threats to the oceans.

We're still dumping a whole range of pollutants into the oceans - fertilizer run off, byproducts of fossil fuel combustion, etc. At the same time, we're throwing ecosystems out of whack with massive overfishing, destruction of coastal wetlands and global warming. Harm from one cause can keep an ocean ecosystem from bouncing back against another.

One example:

[Carbon dioxide] The greenhouse gas, best known for accumulating in the atmosphere and heating the planet, is entering the ocean at a rate of nearly 1 million tons per hour - 10 times the natural rate.

Scientists report that the seas are more acidic today than they have been in at least 650,000 years. At the current rate of increase, ocean acidity is expected, by the end of this century, to be 2 1/2 times what it was before the Industrial Revolution began 200 years ago. Such a change would devastate many species of fish and other animals that have thrived in chemically stable seawater for millions of years.

Less likely to be harmed are algae, bacteria and other primitive forms of life that are already proliferating at the expense of fish, marine mammals and corals.

[Photo: Marine life threatend by a mine on nearby Rapu Rapu island, Philippines. © Greenpeace/ Daniel Ocampo 2006]