Bottlenose Dolphins Essay

1456 words - 6 pages

Our delicate eco-system is struggling to maintain it’s complex equilibrium. The precarious state of our oceans are largely attributed to the climate changes that are on going throughout earth. Along with consistently rising global temperatures come many devastating consequences. Our atmosphere is not the only aspect of our environment that is heating. Global warming is melting polar ice caps, raising water levels in our oceans, and releasing carbon that has been trapped in ice for thousands of years. The warmer air temperature is heating the surface waters of the ocean and creating more frequent and more powerful storms. These warmer surface waters are being pushed under in the ocean conveyor belt and the overall affect is a rise in overall ocean water temperatures. Climate change has been estimated to effect 88% of cetaceans and endangering nearly 21%. More specifically, each of these changes have harmful, potentially deadly and lasting effects on Bottlenose Dolphins. Ultimately causing dangerous and toxic conditions leading to an increase of dolphin strandings and death.

During the 1990s scientist were able to collect 5,000 different salinity profiles. From their findings they were able to estimate a 20 percent increase in freshwater. Due to this increase there was a rise of fresh water by 8,400 cubic kilometer, which can be compared to the volume of fresh water and ice that is released in lower latitudes from the Arctic each year.

Sea temperatures and ocean levels are on the rise due to the melting of the polar ice caps. Oceans are filled with salt, which causes the oceans to be 800 times denser than air. Thinner sea ice that has melted is more flexible and could exit the arctic faster. The Arctic outflow will change the density of surface waters in the extreme North Atlantic, dramatically. The salt in the ocean must be at a certain concentration level for any animal to survive there. If a dolphin’s body is in water that has too much salinity, the skin of the dolphin would move outward from the skin attempting to bring the salt concentration down. This would dehydrate the dolphin. However, if there is too little salt the water would move into the dolphin’s skin to make the ocean salinity more concentrated causing the dolphins body to bloat.

Also, when sea water gets cold, as in the Arctic region, salinity becomes a major factor in determining whether water floats near the surface or sinks. Salinity also affects the dolphin’s body ability to sink or float. The more salt the denser the water is, the denser the water the more a dolphin will use the density to float. Floating in the water helps the dolphins swim while using less energy. Less salt equals less dense oceans, which means more energy use for the dolphins. Melting glaciers will cause the dolphins food source to migrate. The great oceans conveyor belt will change patterns making it harder for the fish to find food. Also the spread of disease...

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