Human Impact on Marine Life and Global Warming

By: Melissa Santiago

Human Impact to Marine Life and Global Warming

Some of the main threat to marine life are ocean acidification, climate change, and global warming.  But humans pose a great on our marine life as well, whether it is overfishing or by the garbage which we dispose of in our seas.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (2018), “each year, billions of pounds of trash and other pollutants enter the ocean”. Marine debris injures and kills marine life, interferes with navigation safety, and poses a threat to human health. Our oceans and waterways are polluted with a wide variety of marine debris, ranging from tiny microplastics to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. The article speaks about how too much nutrients can cause alga bloom which is an overgrowth of algae. This is caused by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus which are needed for plant growth.

 Humans have engaged in activities that produce black carbon particles. Black carbon particles are released into the atmosphere in the form of smoke that is produced by cooking with solid animal fuels, burning trees, and spewing diesel exhaust. When black carbon particles reach the atmosphere, they form a heat-absorbing layer that causes temperatures to rise. Raindrops tend to form around black carbon particles in the atmosphere, and when they fall to the ground, they absorb heat there too, thus magnifying their warming effect.

   Fertilizers used in farming have had far-reaching effects. Their use has injected vast amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous into regional ecosystems.120 million tons of nitrogen are removed from the atmosphere each year and 20 million tons of phosphorous is mined from the ground in order to produce fertilizer to be used for farming. These practices add a tremendous amount of nitrogen and phosphorus to the biosphere than would occur naturally. Runoff from farmland often carries large amounts of fertilizer into rivers and streams that eventually drain into the sea. All of this fertilizer runoff creates rapidly expanding marine dead zones

Technological development has led to the invention of new materials, such as plastics, that were previously unknown to the planet. Many of these new materials are made up of chemical compounds that can remain active in the environment for thousands of years and have lasting impacts on the delicate regulatory cycles and ecosystems. At high concentrations, these chemicals can disrupt animal endocrine systems, alter reproduction patterns, and cause cancer. Organic pollutants and plastic-derived endocrine disruptors have been discovered in low concentrations all over the world, even in areas where they’ve never been used, such as Antarctica and at the bottom of the oceans.

According to Current Biology Magazine’s ‘Not so many fish in the sea’(2017),  “The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which is under the purview of the United Nations, estimates that in 1950 the amount of fish landed worldwide amounted to 19.3 million tons. That figure had increased to 93.4 million tons in 2014, meaning we are pulling about five times as much fish out of our rivers, lakes, and oceans”.

      The long-lived, late reproducing, and low fecundity life histories of many deep-sea organisms increase vulnerability to multiple human pressures and global climate change. Low rates of replacement result in extreme sensitivity to fishing pressure, and weak currents and the absence of wave action result in sometimes fragile organisms that are easily damaged by bottom-contact fishing gear, which now penetrates to thousands of meters depth. Richard (2010) noted, “Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also called Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in history, caused by an April 20, 2010”. The Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico clearly demonstrated not only the increasing range of environments in which extraction occurs but also the ecological aftermath cations of major blowouts for deep-sea fauna. Deepsea mining, while still in its infancy, necessarily destroys habitat, whether it concerns extracting polymetallic sulfides at hydrothermal vent chimneys, cobalt-rich crusts from seamounts, or manganese nodules from abyssal sediments. But the global footprint of climate change represents the single greatest concern regarding human impacts on ocean environments, largely through indirect effects.

  Most deep-sea environments depend largely on surface production, climate change effects on surface processes will alter deep-sea ecosystems globally with evidence of change already happening. Such changes can significantly affect the growth rates, survival, and recruitment of deep-sea organisms with severe consequences for the potential recovery of deep-sea assemblages compounded by other effects of human activities listed above. These consequences can compromise the success of restoration actions in deep-sea ecosystems affected by different anthropogenic pressures. At the same time, the projected increase in temperature and decrease in oxygen and pH in the deep ocean under present climate change scenarios could have additional detrimental impacts on the metabolism of deep-sea organisms, which appear more sensitive than shallow-water counterparts to any change in environmental conditions. The response of deep-sea life to global changes will depend on the ability of these organisms to adapt to altered conditions and to maintain their biological interactions with other living components. This is the reason  we should make a special effort to expand the knowledge of their biology, from their physiology and symbiotic interactions to the factors controlling food webs and the dispersal of deep-sea organisms. The additive effects of human pressures and global climate change are still almost completely unknown and can be addressed only by increasing knowledge on basic and system biology of deep-sea ecosystems and through a better understanding of the complex biological interactions that enable their efficient functioning.

Content

By Jerelle O’Brien

As the end of this project is nearing, I am researching less content and producing more of it instead. In doing all these research and reading blog posts on climate change and the different topics that are focused on in digital humanities, I have taken a heightened interest in these areas and have become more self aware of cases around me where I can see needs improvement. I have also been lured to read posts on social media relating to these things and I never thought I would but this project encouraged me too.

Digital humanities, its projects and its principles combines the age and use of technology to educate and reach people on a wide scale involving matters that are affecting the world now and the future.

So far, I have created three different story maps in an effort to better understand what I want to accomplish for my project. I am still getting used to the software but I am making progress in putting in the information in order to have a complete, wholesome presentation. In my view that would include all things relevant to my topic shown in a way that is easy to comprehend for the benefit of viewers.

These projects and research is something that should be done out of moral obligation and not by force. In present day there are easy ways to get informed, so we must utilize that to stay on top of all things happening around us in order to not fail at life.

Humans Impact on The Fish Population

By Melissa Santiago

For the third week of working on this project, I tried to gather more information on the size of the fishes being caught in Dominica. Since we know that global warming is not the only thing having an effect on the fish population and all the fishes wouldn’t just decide one day that they all migrate together.  After asking numerous persons (consumers) from all around Dominica about what fishes they were able to get, and most only mentioned ‘balou’.

On Saturday 20, April 2019, I went to mero beach  located on the west of the island and I noticed that there was a lot of debris in the water. The water was also dirty but that would be caused by the river that is located near where I was. We stop in Colihaut when we saw a man selling fish but the majority of the fish were too small. The fisherman said that that was his best catch for the day and that the fishes very bigger than what he had gotten the day before. The images below are pictures that I took of the fish. This shows that the fishes are being caught went they are too young not giving them enough time to mature and reproduce. This causes these species to have a decline in population and a problem to even increase in numbers if they don’t get enough time to produce the next generation of its kind.

An article by Michael Tennesen mentions that “old fish tend to be the largest and produce the most offspring. They are also the most flexible in their behavior, so they can adapt better to environmental changes. For instance, the older fish tend to spawn in different times and locations.” Thus meaning that the older fishes can more adapt to the changes cause to our oceans by global warming and the other threats such as ocean acidification, climate change that affect the ocean and marine life. Their population would not be too affected by the changes in their environment.  But if we keep catching this fishes while they are so small we will sooner than later cause a great change in their population. This can lead to the extinction of different species both because of over fishing and the size of the fish we catch. According to Current Biology Magazine’s ‘Not so many fish in the sea’ “The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which is under the purview of the United Nations, estimates that in 1950 the amount of fish landed worldwide amounted to 19.3 million tons. That figure had increased to 93.4 million tons in 2014, meaning we are pulling about five times as much fish out of our rivers, lakes, and oceans”. This is proof that we are overfishing and soon we will not have any fishes left unless we change this.

Some of the main threat to marine life are ocean acidification, climate change, and global warming.  But humans pose a great on our marine life as well, whether it is overfishing or by the garbage which we dispose of in our seas. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration “each year, billions of pounds of trash and other pollutants enter the ocean”. Marine debris injures and kills marine life, interferes with navigation safety, and poses a threat to human health. Our oceans and waterways are polluted with a wide variety of marine debris, ranging from tiny microplastics to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. The article speaks about how too much nutrients can cause alga bloom which is an overgrowth of algae. This is caused by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus which are needed for plant growth.

Environmental Justice – by Kodie Jean-Jacques

Throughout the course of this week, I decided to explore environmental justice in Roseau, Dominica. Environmental justice, as defined by Science Direct is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

In order to fully understand this term, I will look at it from a global perspective. China, America, Russia and India alone contribute an astonishing 55% of the world’s carbon dioxide produced from combustion. When examining a world map, you need to zoom in a great deal in order to see Dominica. However, this small country has become the punching bag of several large nations. Dominica isn’t responsible for large amounts of pollution and it barely contributes to climate change. However, when climate-change-strengthened natural calamities come bouncing through the Atlantic ocean, oftentime, it is in the direct line of fire. Not only that, rising sea levels and acidic rainwater destroy this country’s marine life – a major tourist attraction. To add fuel to the fire, the same big nations that are primarily responsible for climate change do not welcome islanders into their territories with open arms and wide grins. This explains the concept of environmental justice.

There are about 16,000 people who live in Roseau and its surroundings. These people all come from many different races, socio-economic positions and religions. The challenge rises – how can the government satisfy the environmental needs of all these people without reducing other persons’ environmental benefits?

In my research, I discovered that there is a unit called the Environmental Coordinating Unit that’s dedicated primarily to advising the government on environmental laws. Upon examining their website, I read that the unit is currently undergoing a low carbon development path(LCDP) project which, when completed is supposed to increase the use of renewable energy in Dominica as well as it is supposed to reduce the total energy consumption on the island. Are these objectives completable with the 5-person staff of the LCDP and a limited budget? Only time can tell.

During the next week, I shall do more research on environmental justice and I will further examine the absurd poverty rates in St. George.

Minimalism

By Shalian Shaw

‘The User, the Learner and the Machines We Make’ by Alex Gil explains minimalism, different approaches to it as well as advantages and disadvantages. Minimalism is defined as designing systems that use the least hardware and software resources possible. This includes reducing the complexity of a resource to just achieve simple goals. It may be simplifying it for personal, or readers’ ease. One major advantage to using minimalism when working on projects is that readers can easily understand and navigate the scholar’s creation. All extra embellishments are eliminated.

An interesting example of a minimalist piece of hardware is a ‘Raspberry Pi’, which is basically a small and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming. One way in which this hardware was used, which was rather intriguing was a Raspberry Pi-powered Drogon that could be used to watch Game of Thrones.

Another compelling part of the article was the short story about “the man who wanted a little bit more space”. It talks about a man who lived with his mother in a really small house. He extended the space piece by piece, adding different rooms and other necessities. He then wanted to move out on his own but needed to build an exterior stairway. However he could be fined for building an exterior stairway before the process of dividing the house was finished. He put things into perspective, and thought about how people’s definitions of a objects varied. He settled on building the stairway and just waited to be fined, and that’s indeed what happened. He was ordered to stop building the stairway until he received the proper paperwork, but years passed by and he continued to use the unfinished stairway.

We see that the man was able to use his unfinished stairway, it did the same job that a finished one would have done. He survived with just that and he was good.

By presenting this story, Gil forces readers to to ponder “What do we need?”. He wants scholars to think about what is enough and focus on what’s important when working on humanities projects.

Hurricanes and the Caribbean

By Jerelle O’Brien

I was conducting research on hurricanes that has affected the Caribbean over the past 10 years and stumbled upon a site where I found an example similar to what i wanted to accomplish for my project. https://coast.noaa.gov/hurricanes/ provides me with a visual example of what my project could look like. The map and software gives an opportunity to obtain information on any hurricane during any year on their database. My project doesn’t involve only the mapping of the hurricanes but, with it i would like to include the effects and severity of how each impacted the different islands and focus that on the food and water supply of the people.

See, disasters such as hurricanes affect the Caribbean the most as it is more vulnerable due to factors such as its location and climate.

A hurricane is a large rotating storm with high speed winds that forms over warm waters in tropical areas. Hurricanes form over the warm ocean water of the tropics. If there is enough warm water, the cycle will continue and the storm clouds and wind speeds will grow causing a hurricane to form. In light of this, my statement made based on the Caribbean being more susceptible to these disasters can be proven. Hurricanes are usually formed in areas that are in and around the equator and thrive in their oceans. The equator produces a humid, tropical climate where the environment is most suitable to these types of disasters. Warm oceans such as the Atlantic, are getting warmer because of global warming and the climate change effect. Because of this, the environment for hurricanes to grow and thrive is even more desirable causing the worsening of the strength of the hurricanes and the impacts on the different islands of the region.