Jeremy Jackson, senior scientist emeritus of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, asserts in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that the following steps, if taken immediately, could reverse the demise of the oceans: Establish marine reserves, enforce fishing regulations, implement aquaculture, remove subsidies on fertilizer use, muster human ingenuity to limit fossil fuel consumption, buy time by establishing local conservation measures.
In 2001, Jackson and 18 co-authors published a landmark paper in the journal Science, "Historical Overfishing and the Recent Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems," in which they made the case that environments that we perceive as relatively pristine have, in fact, been radically altered by centuries of human exploitation.
Jackson has been on the lecture circuit since then. "Our amnesia about what is natural is the greatest threat to the environment," said Jackson, in the youTube version of his talk "The State of the Ocean," delivered at Middlebury College, in Vermont, in 2007.
Developing a media-savvy approach, Jackson worked closely with Nancy Baron, Ocean Science Outreach director of SeaWeb/Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea to publicize his work and the work of other ocean scientists.
Later, he collaborated with marine biologist-turned-filmmaker, Randy Olson of "Flock of Dodos" and "Sizzle" fame, to create Shifting Baselines videos for the Webgraphic demonstrations of the way our perception of what a "natural" environment is changes over time.
In this article, "Ecological Extinciton and Evolution in the Brave New Ocean," Jackson reviews a series of studies that bolster initial observations that exploitation and pollution of estuaries and coastal seas, coral reef ecosystems, continental margins and the open ocean continue unabated.
He predicts that overfishing will lead to ext
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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute