The world’s oceans: “no area is unaffected by human influence”

oceanmap.jpgA study in the journal Science this week analyzed the ecological impact of 17 different human-caused factors on the world’s oceans. The factors included such things as agricultural run-off (pesticides, fertilizers), industrial and artisanal fishing, off-shore oil rigs, commercial shipping, pollution, invasive species, climate change in temperature and acidification, etc. “Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers.” But if it’s any comfort, “…large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles.”

I grabbed the map above from the AOL News summary (sent by a student) of the Science article. The colors red, orange, yellow, green, and blue represent – in that order – decreasing intensity of human impact. You’ll need a subscription to read the full article in Science, but the abstract is free, as are the technical details of methods and results.

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