Mammals in Peril - Oceana USA
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2008-10-06 00:00:00

Mammals in Peril

The most thorough assessment of land and marine mammals in 12 years, just published in Science, says that a quarter of the world’s wild mammal species are at risk of extinction.It took nearly 2,000 experts in more than 100 countries five years to complete the research. In other words: this one’s big, and ought to be paid some serious attention.While land mammals are most threatened by habitat loss and hunting, marine mammals are more in danger from bycatch, ship strikes and pollution. And there’s yet another climate change threat to marine mammals that I wasn’t aware of before reading the news:”A team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute found that ocean acidification spurred by carbon emissions will cause sounds to travel farther underwater, because increasingly acidic seawater absorbs less low- and mid-frequency sound.By 2050, the researchers predicted, sounds could travel as much as 70 percent farther in parts of the Atlantic Ocean and other areas, which might improve marine mammals’ ability to communicate but also increase the amount of background noise, which could prove disorienting.”