Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Our shifting perspectives on the oceans

  • Callum M. Roberts (a1)
Abstract

In the last 15 years new research findings have radically reshaped our understanding of human effects on ocean ecosystems. Here I describe five major shifts in perspective that reveal our impacts to be more severe and persistent than previously appreciated. Firstly, scientists have delved deep into the past and found that the global expansion of European nations across the planet caused the large-scale loss of marine megafauna. In the past century, expansion of industrial scale fishing has continued the process, massively reducing the biomass of exploited species. Secondly, once depleted we are finding that populations rarely rebound rapidly, contrary to a widespread belief in greater resilience of marine compared to terrestrial species. Thirdly, marine ecosystems are being shifted into alternative states that are less desirable from the human perspective and may be stable. It could be difficult, or impossible in some cases, to reverse impacts once inflicted. Fourthly, marine species are at risk of extinction. Loss of shallow water marine habitats is proceeding as rapidly as on land, many species have small geographic ranges, and many possess life history characteristics that leave them highly susceptible to overexploitation. Finally, the deep sea is not beyond harm. Depletion of shallow water fisheries and technological advances are opening up the deep to exploitation and its collateral impacts. If we are to reverse these negative trends we must establish large-scale networks of marine reserves that are off limits to damaging activities and fishing. Such reserves would protect biodiversity, and recover and sustain the world's fisheries productivity.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Our shifting perspectives on the oceans
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Our shifting perspectives on the oceans
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Our shifting perspectives on the oceans
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 30 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 203 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.