Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean

| January 20, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: January 16, 2015

Year of Publication: 2015

Publication City: Washington, DC

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Author(s): , , , , ,

Journal: Science

Volume: 347: 6219

from authors Douglas J. McCauley, Malin L. Pinksy, Stephen R. Palumbi, James A. Estes, Francis H. Joyce and Robert R. Warner.

ABSTRACT: Marine defaunation, or human-caused animal loss in the oceans, emerged forcefully only hundreds of years ago, whereas terrestrial defaunation has been occurring far longer. Though humans have caused few global marine extinctions, we have profoundly affected marine wildlife, altering the functioning and provisioning of services in every ocean. Current ocean trends, coupled with terrestrial defaunation lessons, suggest that marine defaunation rates will rapidly intensify as human use of the oceans industrializes. Though protected areas are a powerful tool to harness ocean productivity, especially when designed with future climate in mind, additional management strategies will be required. Overall, habitat degradation is likely to intensify as a major driver of marine wildlife loss. Proactive intervention can avert a marine defaunation disaster of the magnitude observed on land.

The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.