Impacts on ecosystems

Every type of ocean ecosystem has, to varying degrees, been affected by terrestrial sources of waste. Three broad categories of ecosystem, with quite different oceanographic characteristics can be considered: open ocean (pelagic), benthic (ocean bottom) and coastal. Clearly within these there are considerable differences in the types of communities they support, especially linked to latitude and, in the case of the first two, depth. Despite this, many of the problems they face are similar, whilst the extent of the impacts is, to a large degree linked to proximity to human populations, although climate change and atmospheric pollution means that nowhere is completely free from human impact.

Dead coral reefs are quickly eroded and cease to function as major fish habitats