Chapter 8 Ocean Planet

This chapter sets out an overview of how the oceans help to support human society beyond the provision of food. 

Pages 207-208. For a comprehensive overview of the science and technical source material on the role played by coccolithophores in the carbon cycle, material presented by the UK’s National Oceanography Centre is a very good place to start. Go to this web page:

Pages 208-209. For an accessible overview on the causes and effects of ocean acidification, this presentation by Carol Turley (whom I quote) is a good source:

Pages 208-209. A more technical overview on ocean acidification can be found in: Longphuirt, S. Stengel, D. O’Dowd, C. & McGovern, E. (2010). Ocean Acidification: An Emerging Threat to our Marine Environment. Marine Foresight Series No.6. Marine Institute, Galway, Ireland. This report can be accessed on-line at:

Pages 208-209. An excellent summary on the impacts of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on the oceans can be found in this IUCN document:

Page 209. The research that links climate change to the collapse of the southern Caribbean sardine stocks can be found in: Taylor, GT. et al. (2012). Ecosystem responses in the southern Caribbean Sea to global climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109 (47) 19315-19320. The can be found on line at: or for a summary of this research see

Page 210. For a good source on the sensitivity of coccolithophores to ocean acidification, see this letter to Nature: Beaufort, L. et al. (2011). Sensitivity of coccolithophores to carbonate chemistry and ocean acidification
Nature 476, 80–83. See this source on-line at:

Page 211. On the subject of ‘blue carbon’ and the role played by mangroves, sea grass beds and other ecosystems in carbon cycles, an increasing amount has been written in recent years. This report gives a helpful summary and a good way into the literature: Herr, D. Pidgeon, E. and Laffoley, D. (eds.) (2011). Blue Carbon Policy Framework: Based on the first workshop of the International Blue Carbon Policy Working Group. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and Arlington, USA: CI. This paper can be found on-line at:

Page 211. For background on the quantity of oxygen produced by marine algae, see this website for a helpful summary: For information on how plankton helped to create the modern atmosphere of Earth, see this:

Page 212. On the economic value of the oceans being about 63 per cent of the total economic value derived from nature, see this famous paper from Robert Costanza and colleagues. The figure is based on the total value of the ocean-related aspects of natural capital and the services provided therefrom: Costanza, R. et al. (1997 The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387, 253-260. This paper can be found on-line at:

Page 212-213. For an introduction on the amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean, see this piece from Science Daily. Various studies are cited here that can be found on-line, including: M. C. Goldstein et al. (2012). Increased oceanic microplastic debris enhances oviposition in an endemic pelagic insect. Biology Letters, 2012.

Pages 214-215. For an introduction on how and why tiny particles of plastic pose threats to some marine ecosystems and species, see: Various links to other stories and technical references allow readers to get quite deep into the impacts of plastic pollution in the oceans.

Page 214. I mention work by UNEP and the impact of ocean plastics on the marine environment, including birds and mammals. You can find details in the 2011 UNEP Yearbook. Go there via this link: This source has some good maps and other figures setting out the scale, scope and causes for this particular problem, including how progressively smaller pieces of plastic attract bioaccumulative toxic materials.

Pages 214-215. Research into the effects of micro-plastic particles on plankton is still at a relatively early stage. An introduction to the literature may be found via: Frias, J. P. G. et al. (2011). Research in plastic marine debris in mainland Portugal. Journal of Integrated Coastal Zone Management 11(1):145-148.

Pages 215-216. For a source on the potential impact of increased jellyfish numbers on fish populations, see: Brodeur, RD. et al. (2008). Spatial overlap and trophic interactions between pelagic fish and large jellyfish in the northern California Current. Marine Biology 154:649–659. This paper can be found at: These authors state that “Our results suggest that an increase of jellyfish in this system could have profound negative impacts on several commercially and ecologically important components of the ecosystem”.

Pages 215-216. A referenced review of the wider implications of rapid changes in jellyfish populations can be found in: Hay, S. (2006). Marine Ecology: Gelatinous Bells May Ring Change in Marine Ecosystems. Current Biology. Volume 16, Issue 17, R679–R682. You can go to this paper directly via:

Page 218. For an overview on the relative protection afforded to areas of marine ecosystems compared to those on land see this: Coada, L. et al. (2009). Progress Towards the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2010 and 2012 Targets for Protected Area Coverage. A technical report for the IUCN international workshop “Looking to the Future of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas”, Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, 14-17 September 2009. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. This paper can be found at: