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1C Warming For Ocean Floor Off Kyushu Kills Seaweeds, Drives Off Urchins, Abalone & Fish

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 02:49 PM
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1C Warming For Ocean Floor Off Kyushu Kills Seaweeds, Drives Off Urchins, Abalone & Fish
FUKUOKA--Tropical and subtropical fish are shifting their habitats northward, while formerly rich seaweed beds are dying off, leaving sterile rock to be colonized by non-native coral species. Amid rising concern about global warming, Japan's southern main island of Kyushu is seeing the results of other insidious changes happening under the waves.

Experts attribute such abnormal phenomena to rising sea temperatures. Compared with 100 years ago, the seawater temperature in the northern East China Sea, which faces western Kyushu coastlines, is now 1 degree higher.


According to Nojima, recent evidence shows that the warmer water temperature has lured south-sea flora and fauna to thrive offshore of such Kyushu prefectures as Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Nagasaki. Table coral communities are expanding where there once were grounds of rich seagrass fields that nourished fish, urchins and abalone.

In Nagasaki Prefecture, a phenomenon known as isoyake, or the denudation of rocky shores, can be seen here and there under the waves off the city of Saikai. The change is possibly because of warmer waters. These waters were once filled with seagrass fields that fostered good urchin and abalone catches. Mottled spinefoot and gangaze longspine black urchin, usually found in warmer waters, are increasing in the area. Their voracious feeding damages local seaweed beds.

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