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Quantifying human impacts on the world’s oceans

How do these diverse human impacts combine to affect the world’s coastal ecosystems? Read this seminal article by Halpern and colleagues.

In the video, we discussed the diversity of threats facing coastal ecosystems because of urbanisation. We discussed how this is not limited only to the replacement of natural ecosystems with hard surfaces and buildings; human impacts are much more diverse and pervasive.

In this article by Halpern and colleagues, scientists combined maps of the intensity of 14 human impacts on 21 different marine ecosystems over many years to create synthesis maps of the cumulative stressors of people on marine ecosystems. This is perfectly exemplified in Figure 1. Notice how the red areas, the areas of highest cumulative impacts on the marine environment are often centralised around the largest centres of human populations. Notice also, though, that there are massive implications for human stressors in even the most isolated parts of the ocean. Finally, see that the impact of humans on the ocean has risen gradually for most countries over the survey period. Do you think there is anything we can do to arrest these problems at a global scale?

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Life Below Water: Conservation, Current Issues, Possible Solutions

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