Blog Action Day: At the Edge of the Sea

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this year’s theme is climate change. Blog Action Day is an annual event designed to raise awareness and create a global discussion on a single issue through blog posts.

I thought that it would be fitting to share some images of things that I’ve noticed at the edge of the sea which make me think that the global climate is changing. It is worth going down to the water’s edge and looking for signs of changes that are taking place in the ocean.

Red Tide - August, 2007
Red Tide - August, 2007

Warmer waters in the summer mean longer and more noticeable red tide blooms. This bloom in late August, 2007 had the colour of tomato soup. Algal blooms can kill fish or shellfish directly and the toxins can be passed up the food chain when  contaminated seafood is eaten. The Harmful Algae web site has some excellent information about the impact of harmful algae blooms.

Strand Line
Strand Line

As sea levels rise the line of seaweed left by the highest tide of the day rises as well. Seaweed has chlorophyll and engages in photosynthesis, converting the sun’s energy into chemical energy. It takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen as a byproduct. Since different species of seaweed grow at different depths in the ocean, rising sea levels and changing global water temperature may impact their ability to survive.

Point Holmes, Comox, BC
Point Holmes, Comox, BC

Winter storms are continually eroding these high sandy bluffs at Point Holmes. Large breakwaters at the base of the cliffs were installed in an attempt to slow the speed of erosion and protect houses above. The breakwaters have reduced long shore drift of the sand that replenishes beaches further up the coastline.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish at Goose Spit, Comox, BC

Odd things turn up where they’re not expected or in numbers that are either greater or lesser than usual. While this often makes for very interesting beach combing it is also a sign that things are changing in the ocean.

Breakwaters at Miracle Beach
Breakwaters at Miracle Beach

Homeowners continue to insist on living right on the ocean’s edge. When they start to lose their land in big winter storms they react by building huge breakwaters. Other property owners without breakwaters are affected when long shore drift is intensified at the end of the armored shoreline.

These are just a few of the changes that I’ve noticed on Vancouver Island where I live. You can learn more about climate change issues and what you can do about it by browsing through some of the 7,000+ blog posts that are part of Blog Action Day 2009. You might also consider joining a local conservation or environmental group or letting your political representatives (at all levels) know about your own concerns.

2 comments

  1. Great post! It will make me look at the things we come across from a different perspective. I have noticed changes in the makeup of intertidal populations, but haven’t mapped them onto the big picture. Now I will.

    That’s a beautiful photo of the jelly. It is probably the same kind as the one we found yesterday. This was the first one I’d seen on that beach.

  2. Pingback: Red Tides: When Tiny, Toxic, Single-Celled Animals Attack! | WebEcoist

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