The movie Finding Nemo has quite a cast of characters who helped in the search for a little clownfish named Nemo. The 2003 Academy Award-winning animated film brought to life a variety of sea creatures that today find themselves in peril, according to a scientific paper published this week detailing the threat of extinction of one in every six species depicted in the film.
According to a report in Scientific American, the paper, “Extinction risk and bottlenecks in the conservation of charismatic marine species” by Loren McClenachan, Andrew B. Cooper, Kent E. Carpenter, and Nicholas K. Dulvy, states that all species of marine turtles and more than half of all hammerhead sharks and eagle rays are threatened. Seahorses are the most threatened of bony fish, and the clownfish are also under threat due to climate change. As ocean acidification becomes more widespread, the capability of the clownfish to search out and find a host anemone becomes hindered, according to IUCN’s Red List. The researchers created lists of 1,568 species in 16 families using online databases from the World Register of Marine Species, FishBase, and the Tree of Life. They then compared extinction risks with that of the IUCN Red List conservation assessments and the CITES database.
From the research, they determined that 16 percent of the 1,568 species evaluated are threatened. This includes 9 percent of bony fishes depicted in the film to 100 percent of marine turtles. They cite only 8 percent of the threatened sharks in their analysis are afforded protections, while the remaining 92 percent, though listed as threatened, have no protections. The paper was published in the online journal Conservation Letters December 13.