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Media opportunity: International experts predict the greatest impacts on ocean biodiversity over next decade, urge policymakers to act now
Lithium extraction from the deep sea, overfishing of deeper-water species and the unexpected impacts of wildfires on marine environments are some of the emerging concerns an international team of experts warns should be addressed now.
The multidisciplinary group produced a list of 15 phenomena that may not be receiving widespread attention now, but which are likely to have a significant impact on marine and coastal biodiversity over the next five to 10 years.
The 'horizon scan' involved 30 experts in marine and coastal systems from 11 countries, including Dalhousie University Oceanography Professor Anna Metaxas who provided her expertise in undersea mining.
The results are published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.
Several of the issues are linked to the exploitation of ocean resources. For example, concerns over food security have fuelled interest in harvesting largely unexploited fish that live at depths of 200 metres to 1,000 metres. Many of these species play an important role in transporting carbon to the deep sea and their removal could severely disrupt a major pathway of carbon into the ocean depths.
Dr. Metaxas is available to discuss the growing threats and what can be done to slow and even reverse the loss of biodiversity, just as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity prepares its conservation framework later this year.
Images are available here as well as a list of the top issues.
Senior Research Reporter
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