Human activity has degraded the world's oceans with dizzying speed and a mass extinction of marine life only seen five times before in the planet's history is likely if urgent action is not taken, a panel of marine experts warns. The International Program on the State of the Oceans panel, made of experts from a variety of disciplines, found that issues such as climate change, overfishing, acidification, and pollution are acting together to accelerate the rate of change, reports the BBC.
The panel found that conditions in the ocean are starting to resemble those associated with mass extinctions in the past. They warn that entire ecosystems like coral reefs could disappear within a single human generation. "The findings are shocking," IPSO's scientific director said in a statement. "This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children's and generations beyond that." (Read more ocean habitats stories.)