Public Release: 23-Feb-2017
Warming temperatures could trigger starvation, extinctions in deep oceans
Oregon State University
Researchers from 20 of the world's leading oceanographic research centers today warned that the world's largest habitat - the deep ocean floor - may face starvation and sweeping ecological change by the year 2100.
Warming ocean temperatures, increased acidification and the spread of low-oxygen zones will drastically alter the biodiversity of the deep ocean floor from 200 to 6,000 meters below the surface. The impact of these ecosystems to society is just becoming appreciated, yet these environments and their role in the functioning of the planet may be altered by these sweeping impacts.
"Parts of the world will likely have more jellyfish and squid, for example, and fewer fish and cold water corals."
"If we look back in Earth's history, we can see that small changes to the deep ocean caused massive shifts in biodiversity," Thurber said. "These shifts were driven by those same impacts that our model predict are coming in the near future. We think of the deep ocean as incredibly stable and too vast to impact, but it doesn't take much of a deviation to create a radically altered environment.