Future warming threatens marine life in more than 70 percent of the most biodiverse areas of oceans

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Future rates of warming threaten marine life in more than 70 percent of the most biodiverse parts of Earth’s oceans, new research reveals.

The researchers used a new technique to compare past and future extremes of ocean warming, allowing them to map global exposure to future climate change and determine distances species would have to move to find better climate conditions.

“Our research shows that sites with exceptionally high marine biodiversity are the most exposed to future oceanic warming, making them particularly vulnerable to climate change in the 21st century,” said lead author Dr. Stuart Brown of the University of Adelaide’s Environmental Institute in a pronunciation.

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Some of Earth's most biodiverse ocean areas are under threat from climate change, new research reveals.  Pictured: A Caretta Caretta is sighted during a dive near the Liman region in the Kas district of Antalya, Turkiye on September 21, 2021

Some of Earth’s most biodiverse ocean areas are under threat from climate change, new research reveals. Pictured: A Caretta Caretta is sighted during a dive near the Liman region in the Kas district of Antalya, Turkiye on September 21, 2021

“Our research shows that locations with exceptionally high marine biodiversity are most exposed to future oceanic warming,” said the study’s lead author. Pictured: A group of gray reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) swim near Tahiti, French Polynesia, in the Pacific Ocean

“This is because species living in these biodiverse areas are generally ill-equipped to respond to large temperature fluctuations.”

Some of the most vulnerable areas contain a majority of the world’s reef-building corals, while other vulnerable regions are home to marine megafauna, including manatees.

“In many cases, this will require displacement distances beyond the oceanic regions in which these species have evolved and adapted, with movement speeds rarely seen for marine life,” explains Brown.

“While we have known for several years that recent human-induced climate change is affecting marine life through shifts in species distribution and abundances, the spatial pattern of exposure to past and future rapid rates of ocean warming is unclear,” said the University of Adelaide’s associate professor Damien Fordham, also of the Environment Institute.

'Often [the warming] This requires displacement distances beyond the oceanic regions in which these species have evolved and to which they have adapted, at rates of movement rarely seen for marine life,

'Often [the warming] This requires displacement distances beyond the oceanic regions in which these species have evolved and to which they have adapted, at rates of movement rarely seen for marine life,

‘Often [the warming] This requires displacement distances beyond the oceanic regions in which these species have evolved and to which they have adapted, at rates of movement rarely seen for marine life,” explains Brown. A southern stingray, Dasyatis americana, is pictured above resting in groups on the seamount off the coast of Isla Mujeres Mexico, Caribbean Sea

“By showing that areas of high marine biodiversity are disproportionately exposed to future warming, our results provide important new information for inferring and amplifying conservation actions to protect marine biodiversity under climate change,” explains Fordham.

“By showing that areas of high marine biodiversity are disproportionately exposed to future warming, our results provide important new information for inferring and amplifying conservation actions to protect marine biodiversity under climate change,” explains Fordham.

“By showing that areas of high marine biodiversity are disproportionately exposed to future warming, our results provide important new information for inferring and amplifying conservation actions to protect marine biodiversity under climate change,” explains Fordham.

“The survival of these richest areas of marine biodiversity will require many species to move well beyond the biogeographic realm where they are endemic, with redistribution not seen before,” researchers explained in the study summary.

“By showing that areas of high marine biodiversity are disproportionately exposed to future warming, our results provide important new information for inferring and amplifying conservation actions to protect marine biodiversity under climate change,” explains Fordham.

‘Actions that strengthen ecological and evolutionary resilience to climate change must be given priority. Think of improving fisheries management, helping to move species and expanding well-managed, climate-smart protected marine areas.’

The scientists’ research was published this month in the journal Global Change Biology.

A separate study, published in the journal one earthfound that more than a quarter of the Earth’s oceans need protection to allow marine species to live without impact from humans.

Researchers in that study said millions of square miles of ocean should be banned from human activities — such as fishing, commercial shipping and limiting the discharge of pesticides into waters.

“This science shows that governments must act boldly, as they did before the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, if we are to end the extinction crisis facing many marine species,” said James Watson, scientific director of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Virtually every part of Earth's climate system underwent large-scale change from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the early Holocene (about 19,000 to 11,000 years ago, according to researchers.

Virtually every part of Earth's climate system underwent large-scale change from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the early Holocene (about 19,000 to 11,000 years ago, according to researchers.

Virtually every part of Earth’s climate system underwent large-scale change from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the early Holocene (about 19,000 to 11,000 years ago, according to researchers.

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth.

It includes diversity the number of species of plants and animals, the genetic diversity within and between these species and the different biomes and ecosystems of which they are part.

These ecosystems can include rainforest, tundra, and desert

Biodiversity also includes the diversity within microscopic organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.

How does biodiversity affect us?

Biodiversity supplies our food directly or through pollination, medical discoveries and ecosystem services.

The latter include everything from cleaning water and absorbing chemicals, which wetlands do, to providing oxygen for us to breathe.

Threats to Biodiversity

The Earth’s biodiversity is declining due to activities such as deforestation, land use change, agricultural intensification, over-consumption of natural resources, pollution and climate change.

Some scientists believe there is enough evidence to confirm that we are in Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.

This is where there is widespread loss of 75% of species over a relatively short geological period of two million years.

There have been five mass extinctions so far, perhaps the most famous being the loss of the dinosaurs caused by the asteroid

But this current mass extinction is different, because it is caused by humans.

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