Our oceans are facing an ecological catastrophe which could wipe out a significant amount of sea life.

That’s according to a just-released report summary by scientists and ocean experts who warn action must be taken now to ward off the disaster.

According to the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the oceans of the world are close to entering a phase of marine species extinction that is unprecedented in all of human history.

The study, produced by 27 experts from 18 organizations in 6 countries, finds that a number of marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, could be extinct within a single generation.

The study goes on to stress that, unless action is taken now, the effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss could produce the next globally significant extinction event.

Scientists list five mass extinctions over 600 million years – most recently when the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago after an apparent asteroid struck.

The report follows a high-level workshop IPSO convened at the University of Oxford earlier this year. In the first inter-disciplinary international meeting of marine scientists of its kind, the gathering considered the growing impact of multiple threats to the ocean,  including warming, acidification and overfishing.

The full findings on the state of the ocean will be released later and presented to the United Nations.

Watch a video on this from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean