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And now for something completely different. Marine biologists presented an interesting paper at the Ocean Science Meeting 2020 on research they conducted on “snapping shrimp.” As ocean temperatures warm because of climate change, the cracking noise that snapping shrimp create increases in loudness and frequency. The cracking likely “helps the shrimp communicate, defend territories and hunt for food.” One of the implications is that the ocean soundscape will become noisier, potentially affecting not only the communication of ocean animals, e.g., fish, but sonar systems used by a fisherman or by the U.S. Navy to detect mines or other operations. Thus, while there are global effects from climate change, the scale of climate change effects will reach all the way down to the very local level – e.g., single species such as snapping shrimp – that can directly interfere with strategic marine national defense assets. Who said this topic couldn’t get any more interesting?
By Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (ret.) and Annabelle Leahy
The pandemic of Covid-19 has tremendous and largely unknown implications for global health, security, and economic prosperity, but as we work diligently to steer the future toward positive outcomes, we must not lose track of the growing challenges and opportunities that continually unfold with another well-known but not well-understood global phenomenon — the ocean.
The ocean and its resources are inextricably tied to human health, the economy, and security. The link between the environment, particularly the ocean, and human health, is an area of increasing global importance as climate change increases the incidence of toxin release from harmful algal blooms, damage from catastrophic weather events, and potential for contagion from waterborne viruses and bacteria. These threats are not just related to health but also to security. Climate change is a core systemic risk to the 21st century world, and we must specifically address the ocean in this discussion.(more…)