Huge animal die-offs, along with disease outbreaks and other population stressors, are happening more often.
We’re not talking about a few dead fish littering your local beach. Mass die-offs are individual events that kill at least a billion animals, wipe out over 90 percent of a population, or destroy 700 million tons—the equivalent weight of roughly 1,900 Empire State Buildings—worth of animals.
And according to new research, such die-offs are on the rise.
Big die-offs can permanently change food webs. Ninety-nine percent of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum disappeared from the Caribbean in 1983 thanks to a pathogen. The herbivore’s vanishing act paved the way for an algal invasion of reefs, smothering corals.
Massive die-offs can also endanger human activities like farming by disrupting insects that pollinate plants, like bees.
written by Jane J Lee read the full story on national geographic