As if we needed one more reason to act now to reduce our carbon footprint, our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) warned today that rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere could starve deep sea animals of oxygen.
On the good-news front, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally declared on Friday that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and welfare, opening the door for regulation to limit emissions.
New calculations by MBARI marine chemists suggest that low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century, making it harder for deep sea animals to breathe.
Their predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, the increases can exacerbate the effects of low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean. While some deep sea animals do fine in so-called oxygen minimum zones, most do not.
Let's not starve them of oxygen before we get to know them.
(Owlfish photo, top, and barreleye fish photo, bottom, © MBARI.)