Weekly dose of TED – Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

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  1. Jonathan Badger · December 10, 2010

    Of course as a microbiologist, whenever I hear of Jeremy Jackson, I’m reminded of Sean Nee’s brilliant editorial in PLoS Biology a few years ago where he reminds us:

    “In talks and lectures, the renowned oceanographer and paleontologist Jeremy Jackson paints a vivid picture of what is currently happening to coastal ecosystems, talking about a wall of slime emanating from populated areas and growing outwards inexorably towards the open oceans, replacing beloved ecologies like coral reef systems. What he means is that the visible life that we find attractive and useful—pretty fish, turtles, and so on—is being replaced by microbes in splendid profusion. It is taken completely for granted that this is disastrous. From a utilitarian point of view indeed it is disastrous, since we like eating fish and turtles, and don’t like snorkling in slime. But from the point of view of life per se, again things have never been better. Life is so abundant that in some places all the oxygen in the water is completely used up. These are called ‘dead zones’, but they are no more ‘dead’ than the Dead Sea, which is actually teeming with life—just not fish.”

    (For the full text see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC509315/ )

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