Why Is Marine Biodiversity Important?

Everyday in our recently environmentally aware world we are reminded about the incredibly complex circle of life that produces all the good stuff around us. Marine biodiversity is such a huge part of that, and we are only scratching the surface here, but we believe that it's a topic worth more conversation. 

Marine Biodiversity is a crucial player in sustaining life on Earth. Not only are our oceans a source of food, but it is estimated that anywhere between 50-85% of the oxygen we breath is generated by ocean flora and fauna

The ever expanding human population coupled with environmentally irresponsible behaviour has placed mounting pressure on the environment’s ability to function naturally. This has left our ecosystems severely debilitated and masses of species on the brink of extinction.

One of the most susceptible ecosystems to this strain are our oceans and waterways. 71% of the planet is made up of water and the vast ecosystems that live underwater are largely hidden from our eyes. The devastating effects of climate change and deforestation are no less prevalent here than in the Antarctic or the Amazon rain forest.

Keeping to our values and our mission, we felt compelled to use our brand launch to bring attention to this critical issue. 

Giant Kelp Forests

Off the East coast of Tasmania there once lived beautiful underwater forests of Giant Kelp. It was an amazing ecosystem that gave life to many sea creatures while simultaneously providing an important environmental benefit to the global ecosystem. 

Kelp is not only crucial to supporting sea life who live and breed amongst the leaves but it also absorbs carbon as it grows. A wonderful asset to the planet in a time of rising carbon emissions and impending climate changes. While scientists search for complex technology to reduce greenhouse gasses, kelp provides a natural, un-imposing method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

As rising sea temperatures and nutrient poor water reached the coastline of Tasmania the Kelp has struggled to survive. As sea temperatures rise sea urchins, previously not found in the colder climate, have invaded and progressively overrun the kelp. Now 95% of the kelp forests have been depleted. Researchers say there is little to no hope of reviving the kelp to its former numbers, instead choosing to focus on protecting the remaining 5% from further damage.  

Mangroves

This one also hits close to home. Traditional land owners in the Northern Territory have issued stern warnings to policy makers to take action on the back of the worst case of mangrove forest dieback in Australia's history.

Mangroves are an extremely important plant species to biodiversity. They provide breeding grounds and nurseries for a huge variety of life from algae to tropical reef fish and they are fantastic absorber of carbon dioxide. Mangroves also shelter the surrounding land from ocean and wind pressures, minimising erosion and protecting coastal areas during storms and tsunamis.

Mangroves are often cleared to make way for settlements and infrastructure without foresight of the impact on the natural environment. It is estimated that between 20-35% of global mangroves populations have been destroyed since 1980.

Little organisms called detritus feeders break down debris (leaves, bark etc) from their surrounds and release it back as nutrients for sea critters. This process is the beginning of the food chain for a lot of sea life. Essentially, mangrove deforestation has resulted in less nutrients being released for underwater ecosystems - which is bad news for our seas, and for us. 

Survival Game

A simple overview of the pressures facing these ecosystems and the importance of them supporting our oceans is not doing this entire issue justice. The world's natural ecosystems were created over millions of years. The dramatic impact of human development without concern of conservation has left them in dire straights, with little time to help

We have been given less than 12 years by experts to curve greenhouse gas emissions or risk blowing out the 1.5˚C maximum temperature rise set by the Paris Climate Accord (the effects of breaching this limit are dire). Ecosystems like mangroves and giant kelp are such supportive systems of balancing these emissions. It is in our best interests to support, nurture and protect them - if only to ensure our own survival.

Written by Emily Hodge

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