University of Georgia

Low oxygen levels, coral bleaching getting worse in oceans

Global warming is making the world's oceans sicker, depleting them of oxygen and harming delicate coral reefs more often, two studies show.

The lower oxygen levels are making marine life far more vulnerable, the researchers said. Oxygen is crucial for nearly all life in the oceans, except for a few microbes.

"If you can't breathe, nothing else matters. That pretty much describes it," said study lead author Denise Breitburg, a marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. "As seas are losing oxygen, those areas are no longer habitable by many organisms."

She was on a team of scientists, convened by the United Nations, who...

34°