Can you imagine what’s it like to go to the beach and find hundreds of dead baby penguins washed up on the beach? Well the beach go-ers of Rio de Janeiro beach know. At last count, more than 400 penguins, swept from the shores of Patagonia and Antarctica, have been found dead on Rio de Janeiro’s beaches according to Michael Astor from Associated Press. So what are the causes?
Some say over-fishing; “Thiago Muniz, a veterinarian at the Niteroi Zoo, said he believed overfishing has forced the penguins to swim further from shore to find fish to eat “and that leaves them more vulnerable to getting caught up in the strong ocean currents.” Others say pollution, but scholars has pointed out it’s not likely. Instead, they suggested global warming; “I don’t think the levels of pollution are high enough to affect the birds so quickly. I think instead we’re seeing more young and sick penguins because of global warming, which affects ocean currents and creates more cyclones, making the seas rougher,” biologist Erli Costa said.
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So we’re seeing more Jellyfish around, but what does it mean? Experts say that driven by overfishing and climate change, this is a sure sign of ecosystems out of kilter.
“Jellyfish are an excellent bellwether for the environment,” explains Jacqueline Goy, of the Oceanographic Institute of Paris. “The more jellyfish, the stronger the signal that something has changed.”
“Jellyfish both compete with fish for plankton food, and predate directly on fish,” explains Andrew Brierley from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. “It is hard, therefore, to see a way back for fish once jellyfish have become established, even if commercial fishing is reduced.”
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Tagged bellwether, climate, earth, fish, global warming, jellyfish, life, marine, ocean, oceanographic, sign, signal