The Importance Of Marine Life In South Africa

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South Africa is surrounded by three major oceans namely the Atlantic, the Indian and the Southern Ocean. The west and east coast of South Africa are geographically and oceanographically distinct, supporting a wide variety of marine life. The west coast of South Africa is characterised by the relatively cold, slow-moving Benguela Current. The marine life along the west coast is adapted to colder temperatures. The waters of the west coast are nutrient-rich and support a large abundance of fish. The west coast is also characterised by upwelling, which brings nutrient-rich waters from deeper ocean layers to the ocean surface. This drives higher productivity in the marine life but may also result in harmful algal blooms occurring. The east coast …show more content…
Over the past 250 years, atmospheric CO2 has increased by almost 40% (Doney et al., 2009), largely due to the industrial revolution. This is not simply an atmospheric issue as CO2 is absorbed by the ocean, affecting the chemical composition of the seawater. The ocean CO2 uptake causes reductions in pH and alterations to the chemical balances of the ocean, that collectively are referred to as ocean acidification (Doney et al., …show more content…
Several marine species have evolved various physiological adaptations such as osmoregulation that counteract high salinity regions. Therefore, any changes in salinity in areas of the ocean could have a drastic impact on the marine organisms within, resulting in changes in behaviour and possible fatality. Like temperature, salinity has an impact on the migration patterns of marine animals. These animals have grown accustomed to a certain salinity level, so if there is any variability in salinity, it could alter regional distributions of organisms they tend to leave the area if they can do so (in other words if they are not sessile organisms) to find their optimal climate elsewhere. Baggerman (2011) illustrated this when he showed that salinity changes affected the migration patterns of four different species of Salmon (e.g. Atractoscion aequidens and Salmo

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