Empty Oceans

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | August 16, 2008 12:28 pm

Jackson JBC. (2008) Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105 (Suppl):11458-11465.

No caption necessary:


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Marine Science

Comments (7)

  1. Nemo

    “Pristine” is not a date, and I think it undermines this chart a bit. But the dated items are shocking.

  2. Jimbo

    Unbeliev… actually, all too believable.

  3. Nebularry

    Damn scary if you ask me! What kind of a future will my six grandchildren have?

  4. That’s incredibly depressing.

  5. Eric the Leaf

    No, not scary or depressing, just very sad. Oh, I suspect I’ll be scared when the zombies start coming for what’s left of my food. On the bright side, it just seems like nature doing its thing. What with global warming, peak oil, and all of their consequences, seems like we’re in for a big change-a-roo. That’s just the ways things are going and nothing, apparently, will really make any difference. That point is way, way in the past. However, Nebularry, I am sorry for your grandchildren. That’s a tragedy. Like I said, it’s very sad, but very inevitable. I feel equally sorry for the young people I teach. They’re in for a “crude awakening.” I worry about my dog.

    But I am reassured by the fact that humans must abide by the same laws as any other organism. When we overshoot the carrying capacity of our environment, of which all of these things (including global warming) are just symptoms, the result is population die-off, often to levels far below carrying capacity.

    I wonder what life will be like on the other side of this great discontinuity. This discontinuity will be the greatest event in human history since the origins of plant and animal domestication. That event was so recent, that I largely think that we have yet to successfully adapt to the changes it wrought. Shades of Ishmael.

    “Men go and come, but earth abides.”


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.


See More

Collapse bottom bar