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World Oceans Day: 10 Spectacular Places Worth Protecting

Oceans
World Oceans Day: 10 Spectacular Places Worth Protecting

The Pew Charitable Trusts commemorates World Oceans Day today, June 8, by taking a look at some of most incredible ocean environments around the globe in dire need of protection.

Here are 10 sites that need our help:

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Oceans play an essential role in sustaining life on our planet. But human activity is increasingly threatening its health. In the past half-century, populations of large predatory fish, including some species of sharks, have declined by 90 percent or more. Eighty-seven percent of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted: one in five fish is caught illegally or in unreported fisheries.

Although the ocean makes up 72 percent of the Earth’s surface, less than one percent is protected.

But there is hope.

Research shows that large, fully protected marine reserves are key to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and protecting the overall health of our marine environment. Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy team is working to create these great parks of the sea in some of the most biologically important places in the world.

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The Forest Vixen's CC Photo Stream. Flickr / CC BY 2.0


Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.


"It's getting warmer overall. They're thinking, OK, it's a good time to breed, to lay my eggs," says Lily Twining of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany.

She says that despite recent warming, late-season cold snaps remain common. Those cold snaps can harm newborn chicks.

Hatchlings cannot regulate their body temperature, so they are vulnerable to hypothermia. And the insects they eat stop flying in cold weather, potentially leaving the chicks to starve.

"These chicks are growing very, very fast," Twining says. "They have very high energy demands, so… if they don't get a lot of that good high-quality food during this pretty specific time… that's when these cold weather events seem to be most devastating."

For example, data from Ithaca, New York, shows that a single cold snap in 2016 killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows.

"And there have been more and more of these severe cold weather die-off events for these tree swallows as they've been breeding earlier and earlier over the past 40 or so years," Twining says.

So for these songbirds, earlier springs can come with devastating consequences.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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