Warmer Ocean Temperatures Could Trigger An Alteration Of Key Ocean Bacteria, But It's Not Temperature Alone
The Great Namazu Addresses "The Rise of The Slime".
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Warmer Ocean temperatures could put certain types of oceanic bacteria into evolutionary overdrive. Crude Oil spills in warmer bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico have already done something similar. Around the World Ocean, the slime is rising, but not because of climate change as many in the main stream media would have you believe. But the slime in the form of harmful bacteria is rising in a way that could pose a threat to the long-term survival of wild caught fish stocks. Warmer water temperatures tend to exacerbate pro-bacterial conditions but there is no evidence that the average global ocean temperature is rising, and in fact recently, the surface temperature of a major portion of the Atlantic cooled. We might add that this cooling was expected, predictable, and a normal part of an observable ten year cycle. (see my post:: WHY HAVE ATLANTIC OCEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURES DROPPED?) . Some parts of the World Ocean are having major bacteria issues such as the U.S. Gulf Coast and these tend to be warm water areas. (See: Gulf of Mexico Oil Pollution May Be A Microorganic Trigger.) But bacterial counts are rising in many parts of the oceans that have not experienced any recent temperature change. Ocean systems apparently, according to some recent research are more apex predator driven than the "food pyramid " model of terrestrial systems.
Ocean systems seem to be able to withstand more apex predator pressure than land animal based systems which tend to have a large number of "prey animals" making up the bulk of the system and resulting biomass, and a small population of apex predators at the top of the food chain. Indeed ocean systems seem to actually depend on what appears to the terrestrial mind to be inordinate Apex predator pressure. The heavy predator pressure seems to drive fertility rates upwards and sexual maturity dates downward making a larger biomass to survive and even thrive the seemingly inordinate predator pressure. Unfortunately for the last two hundred years man has been commercially
harvesting the apex predator fish species such as tuna and the resulting lack of predator pressure, instead of increasing the numbers of "feed fish" stocks' appears to be having the opposite effect, smaller species are reproducing in smaller numbers absent the predator pressure.
As we deplete the apex predators species we focus further down the food chain and start harvesting smaller species. Of late we have been considering harvesting krill for human consumption. Krill is the rock bottom of the polar seas food chain, below that level are amoeba, plankton such as algae, and bacteria. Apparently, unlike the smaller fish and shrimp species which are not increasing their numbers with the man caused reduction in predator pressure , the bacteria and algae are increasing dramatically. In warm waters such as our own Gulf of Mexico there are natural oil seeps and bacteria have evolved which actually feed on crude oil. The British Petroleum company and their drilling contractors a few years ago provided a feast to these organisms while killing off a large number of apex predators.
The visible oil from the BP oil spill no longer washes up on the Gulf Coast beaches but the beaches have been visited of late by red tides, other algae blooms, unexplained fish kills , and various harmful bacteria counts closings some beaches in a sort of rolling bacteria tide. Sport fishing is still good but not as great as it was decades ago. The rule of thumb seems to be, that in the ocean as the apex predators decline so do the prey fish, but the single celled organisms and bacteria at the very bitter end of the food chain rise in response to the break in their predator pressure. This is what we are talking about when we use the term "the rise of the slime". In a nut shell, if we keep doing what we are doing eventually no one will have to worry about a shark attack at the beach, but flesh eating bacteria encounters will be quite normal, if anyone still visits the beach.
Trichodesmium is a cyanobacteria found in tropical and subtropical waters normally useful to the ocean food chain. This bacteria converts atmospheric nitrogen into biologically useful forms of nitrogen that phytoplankton can use. Recently a team of researchers at the University of Southern California found that trichodesmium generates more nitrogen and reproduces faster when exposed to the high levels of carbon dioxide. Despite the fact that this evolutionary adaptation may seem beneficial for certain parts of the ocean's ecology, it could harm the bacteria in the long term. According to the scientific speculation at USC more carbon dioxide may lead the bacteria to gobble up all their available resources of the nutrients phosphorous and iron. And of course, since Al Gore, et al, asserts that the climate is warming;the government and media assert that the CO2 levels in the world's oceans are expected to rise dramatically by 2100. The researchers have found that trichodesmium continues to reproduce quickly and generates a lot of nitrogen after a significant warm up, even when placed back in an environment with lower levels of carbon dioxide. Never missing an opportunity to carp climate change real or imagined, the media reports that this laboratory finding means that climate change may create an evolutionary adaptation in the bacteria, this alteration may persist even if global action is taken to reverse climate change.
The actual researchers note that they produced their results in a laboratory and that in trichodesmium's natural environment, certain factors may mitigate the changes in the bacteria seen in the lab test. Of course this was not prominently featured in the media coverage. Our point is that local water warming can cause the effects described for trichodesmium and water temperatures change in cycles, that don't amount to "climate change". No matter what may or may not happen in any given location with this one bacterium after a change in temperature the slime is rising profusely around the world. Here and there effects may be exacerbated by changes in local or regional water temperatures but the root cause in the over all rise of the slime is complex and begins with over fishing. Oil spills provide major contributions as well. There is nothing in the recent findings about trichodesmium that warrants us dismantling the American economy in the name of preventing climate change. Besides whatever we do doesn't matter very much, we are not the big polluter any more,that honor goes to China, Brazil, India and others who inherited our smoke stack industries. None of these nations have done anything about "green house gases" except announce that the problem is one for the developed nations who should bear the entire costs.
So bipeds, you can't do much about green house gases which probably aren't nearly the problem that Al Gore et al would have you believe. But you can do something about oil spills and over fishing and that could go a long ways towards mitigating the observable "rise of the slime".
Now, once upon a time, before the first human biped trod the earth the carbon gases in our atmosphere increased dramatically without any biped aid. It resulted in something left in the fossil record called the "GREAT DYING." If you would like to explore that event to see if it offers any lessons for today's dangers read my post titled: