Are the stars of Finding Nemo in peril?

According to Scientific American, One in every six species related to characters in the movie Finding Nemo is threatened by extinction, according to a new study out today. The authors examined the extinction risk of 1,568 species within 16 families of well-known marine animals represented in the 2003 Academy Award-winning animated film.

All species of marine turtles (“Squirt” and “Crush”) and more than half of all hammerhead sharks (“Anchor”), mackerel sharks (“Bruce” and “Chum”), and eagle rays (“Mr. Ray”) are threatened. Seahorses (“Sheldon”) are the most threatened group of bony fish in Finding Nemo, with two in five species at risk of extinction s reported in the huffingtonpost

Coral reefs have been bleached white. These animals – yes, coral is an animal that creates the reefs by secreting calcium carbonate.  The places corals live are not generally high in nutrients and the corals survive on the fringes of our ecology. Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters, occupying 1/10 of 1% of the ocean’s surface – in perspective, all the reefs in the world would fit in France with some room let over. But they are the home to 25% of all marine species – the rain forests of the oceans.

And like the rain forests, they are being killed through ecological changes brought on by natural earth cycles and because of the actions of people, in particular, coral mining, agricultural and urban runoff, organic and inorganic pollution, overfishing, disease, the digging of canals. Broader threats are sea temperature rise, sea level rise and pH changes from acidification of the oceans all associated with the increased levels of greenhouse gasses.

As these reefs die, the fishes that live in and around them will disappear also.  It has been estimated that most of the world’s marine life will be unsustainable within fifty years.

Ocean acidificat­ion threatens the base of the chain of life in the Seas, phyto-plan­kton. Actually, this is the base of really all life on earth.  While they are the base-line food for marine life, that is not their only cog in the machine.  They are responsible for well over have the photosynthesis on the planet.

For those who do not remember their high-school science and all Republican members of the House and Senate, this is the chemical process of converting carbon dioxide into organic materials.  The by-product of this is called oxygen.  Wipe out these little critters and we probably won’t be long for this world.

Maybe there is nothing to worry about, maybe the earth will adjust itself and things will settle down and maybe no matter what we do, what we do will not be enough to make much of a difference, but we cannot just do nothing.  We can do little things, like ride a bike for the mile trip to the store, stop polluting, and be aware of the energy we use. Support organizations like Greenpeace or other members of the National Resources Defense Council

I suspect most of these groups would be ridiculed by Rush Limbaugh or Neal Boortz or Sean Hannity and that this bunch of neo-crazy cons would accuse the whole bunch of being anti-capitalist, anti-business, pro-Obama, environmental wacko, tree huggers.  If that is not enough reason to support them, then maybe a comment Dr. No or one of his associates might be.

I didn’t call, and he didn’t respond to my imagined calling, but I don’t think it stretches the imagination too much to believe that Senator Inhofe would have said, “What’s the big deal? Nemo was a cartoon character.  We can just draw another one.”

I dunno.  Maybe the groups mentioned here are all tree huggers and maybe they are anti-capitalist, but something tells me that if the oxygen content of the atmosphere falls too much, it won’t be good for business.

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