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CHANGING SEAS

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Published:2012-01-15 Entertainment
CHANGING SEAS    Print Snohomish Times    
CHANGING SEAS

On KBTC public television Tuesday, January 17th starting at 9pm, CHANGING SEAStakes viewers on an exciting adventure to the heart of our liquid planet. The documentary series offers an unprecedented look at how oceanographers and experts study earth’s vast underwater wilderness, while shedding light on how over-fishing, global climate change and pollution threaten ocean resources.

The oceans cover roughly 70 percent of the earth’s surface and they contain 97 percent of the world’s water supply. Nevertheless, only five percent of their vast expanse has been explored – leaving in secret a deep, liquid wilderness yet to be discovered.

The oceans have long played an important role in people’s lives. Currently, more than half of all Americans live within 50 miles of the coast, and that number is rising. It is estimated that by 2025 more than 75 percent of Americans will live along the country’s shorelines. Coastal and marine waters support 28 million jobs and draw 189 million tourists a year.

While the population’s dependence on the oceans as a natural resource and a source for recreation continues to increase, the health of these large bodies of water is rapidly declining. Over-fishing, global climate change, pollution: these are only a few of the threats that the oceans are facing today. At the same time, the seas hold great promise for ongoing medical research, as an untapped source of alternate energy, and other benefits that scientists are just now beginning to discover.

9:00pm – Alien Invaders

In the waters of the western Atlantic and Caribbean, a voracious alien predator has taken hold. Native to the Indo-Pacific, the invasive lionfish is a major threat to biodiversity and the health of already stressed coral reef ecosystems.

The popular aquarium fish is thought to have first been released into the wild in South Florida in the mid 1980s. With no natural predator in this part of the world, lionfish numbers have increased rapidly. Experts say that on some Bahamian reefs lionfish have reduced native fish populations by up to 90 percent in just a few years.

To combat this problem, experts are encouraging people to “eat’em to beat’em”. Changing Seas joins scientists in the field to learn more about this beautiful, yet gluttonous feeder and the threat it is posing to native fish populations.

9:30pm – Reef Revival

In the emerging science of coral reef restoration, marine biologists and resource managers are discovering naturally occurring mechanisms that promote coral growth and restore ecological balance in these gardens of the sea.

Since the late 1970s close to 98% of Staghorn and Elkhorn corals have disappeared from reefs in Florida and the Caribbean. Around the world, damage from boat groundings and other factors have placed these organisms on the “threatened” list of the Endangered Species Act. Staghorn and Elkhorn are considered principal reef building corals. In South Florida, scientists are using native sponges and spiny sea urchins in novel ways that may help attract corals to damaged sites. Can nature heal itself with a little help from marine experts? Can new technologies help restore the lost coral communities?

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KBTC is a service of Bates Technical College in Tacoma. The public television station serves Western Washington with three transmitters and one translator.




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