Oceans are really messed up, L.A. Times reports in special series

The Los Angeles Times is running a snazzy multimedia series on the distressing decline of the world’s oceans, with photos, video, and depressing statistics galore (for example, 97 percent of elkhorn and staghorn coral off Florida’s coast have disappeared since 1975). In part one of the five-part series, we learn how industrial and agricultural pollutants have changed ocean chemistry in areas across the planet, supporting the rapid propagation of primitive organisms like algae, bacteria, and jellyfish while helping to kill off fish, corals, and mammals. It’s like evolution in reverse — or, according to one marine ecologist, “the rise of slime.” Part two elaborates on the effects, discussing how blooms of brain-poisoning algae have intensified along the Pacific coast in the last eight years, coinciding with increased numbers of seals, dolphins, sea lions, manatees, and other large mammals washing up on shore, addled or dead. Parts three to five will be published later this week, and promise to be similarly gloomy. Enjoy!