Ocean Life Facing Mass Extinction

A number of threats could result in an unprecedented loss of species, according to a shocking report.

Daniel Politi

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The oceans are in far worse state than previously thought, according to a prestigious group of scientists. Of course, doom-and-gloom environmental stories are so common they’re almost yawn-inducing. But this one is different, insists Time’s Bryan Walsh. The state of the oceans never gets the coverage it really deserves and a report issued by the International Program on the State of the Ocean reveals things more dire for the marine world than previously thought.

Sure, there’s overfishing and global warming has created dead zones in the oceans. But the truth is far more frightening as we are “at high risk for entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history,” notes the report written by a global panel of experts. In what is the report’s most stark and shocking suggestion, scientists say that the unprecedented loss of species could be directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions of prehistory. Indeed, the panel of 27 scientists say that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history.”

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