Experts from Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Society have reacted with “profound shock” to statistics published in a recent UK government report. According to the Marine Programme Plan 2008/09, released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, numbers of zooplankton in UK waters have declined by approximately 73 percent since the 1960's. Director of Buglife Matt Shardlow states that the decline is "a biodiversity disaster of enormous proportions." Zooplankton play a vitally important role in marine ecosystems by processing microscopic organic matter and providing a food source for larger organisms.
There would seem to be some correlation between the figures noted in the Defra report, and The RSPB Scotland's recently expressed concern for the continuing poor breeding performance of Scotland's seabirds. Guillemot, razorbill and others species from the internationally important colonies of the Scottish Isles, are abandoning their nests for lack of food. As Doug Gilbert, an ecologist with The RSPB Scotland notes, "seabirds are indicators of the health of the marine environment and, like the canary in the coalmine, the decline in their fortunes should be a wake-up call to us all that we must pay attention to."
Creative Commons Image: Christopher Chan on FlickrTweet