Just as scientists are starting to understand the life forms and landscape of the ocean, they are also coming to grips with the threat of mass extinctions, speakers said at a marine biodiversity forum last week.
The forum, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, featured French scientific leaders and their American counterparts from the San Diego area. They addressed the marine issues raised in an international report on global biodiversity released earlier this month, arguing that conservation is just as important as stabilizing the climate.
According to the report, 30 percent of reef-forming corals are threatened, 33 percent of fisheries are over-fished, 33 percent of marine mammals are threatened, and 55 percent of the ocean is subject to industrial fishing.
That has profound implications for coastal communities such as San Diego, which depend on the ocean for food, tourism, recreation and biotechnology.