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Troubled waters

A new report has made dire predictions about ocean ecosystems. Has it gone too far?

By Philip Ball   August 2011

Ocean scene: the light blue-green spots are caused by microscopic marine plants known as phytoplankton—some of which are toxic

The global oceans are in a very bad way, according to scientists at an April meeting of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). When a summary report from the meeting was released in June, it spawned disaster-movie headlines. The future of the ocean’s ecosystem looks “far worse than we had realised,” said Alex Rogers, director of IPSO and a professor in conservation biology at Oxford. “If the ocean goes down, it’s game over.”

Are things really so…

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