Win Some, Lose Some


Several marine species to go extinct, a global map predicts

EVEN as we discover new life, we are losing others. A 10-year long global project-Census of Marine Life-created a map indicating the abundance of species in the world's oceans.

The dark red areas indicate greater abundance of species and the dark blue areas, least abundance. The period from 1960s to 1990s shows a gradual decrease in species number. Human-induced degradation of the coastal ecosystems in the last 300 years led to the loss of about 90 per cent of species in these systems.

While the gloom heightens with the census predicting the extinction of predatory fish like cods, sharks and tuna, there have been some new discoveries: the giant sulphur bacteria off the coast of Chile and the ghost shrimp in the Northeast Atlantic.


Down To Earth, June 2009