Climate change is a serious threat to the Earth’s biodiversity. Several published reports have now showed that thousands of species are clinging for dear life, most of them vanishing into extinction. Scientists, researchers and policymakers are now trying to understand what to do about it and what actions must be taken in order to preserve what’s left.
Researchers recently published a new study titled “Greater vulnerability to warming of marine versus terrestrial ectotherms, in the journal, Nature.
The study focused on understanding the species and ecosystems that will be severely affected by climate change – comparing marine and terrestrial fauna, and how the community could possibly help in protecting the lives of these species.
Terrestrial species may be at risk from climate change, because they are less adaptable to new climatic conditions and they are more exposed to extreme temperatures.
However, the writers of the report saw that marine animals may be more affected by the warming, because “temperature strongly controls their geographic limits, nutrients, and oxygen availability.”
The authors Malin Pinsky, Anne Eikeset, Douglas McCauley, Jonathan Payne, and Jennifer Sunday calculated the thermal safety margin, which is the difference between the highest temperature that animals can survive and the maximum body temperature that will lead animals to experience under natural conditions.
They realized that there are no thermal safety margins for land-dwelling ectotherms if they do not have access to thermal refuges, while ocean-dwelling animals do have those safety margins – implying that marine animals is more at risk.
The authors also observed that the thermal safety margins among land animals were “narrowest at the subtropics and widened towards the tropics and poles,” which meant that warming is more threatening among ocean species.
“Local extirpations related to warming have been twice as common in the ocean as on land, which is consistent with the smaller thermal safety margins at sea,” the authors wrote in their report.
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– The ocean is dying: Fish populations are declining faster than we thought
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