An alarming new report indicates that climate change will cause massive disruptions in the ocean’s ecology.
A new study from Adelaide University is ringing the alarm over the ocean’s delicate food chain, arguing that climate change could disrupt it more than we realize.
As the level of acid in our oceans continues to rise and warming causes a loss indiversity of key species, fragile ecosystems around the world could start to collapse, according to a Daily Telegraph report.
Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken of the university said that warmer water will also cause metabolic rates in animals to jump, causing them to fight more aggressively for a food supply that is dwindling. This will cause many species to become extinct, on all parts of the food chain, weeding out animals and resulting a simplification of ecosystems.
This would devastate areas that rely on fishing, and fundamentally alter the ecology of our planet.
To come to their conclusions, the research team examined 600 studies on coral reefs, kelp forests, oceans, and tropical waters. Their findings, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warned that acidification and warming is a massive threat to species diversity.
Most organisms wouldn’t be able to simply adjust to a warmer environment or higher levels of acid, except for microorganisms, which would probably increase in diversity. Unfortunately, more plankton won’t result in more zooplankton and fish, and that’s bad news for bigger fish who will have nothing to eat.
There will be a “mismatch” in the amount of food available and the greater demand for food by hungry carnivores, Nagelkerken said according to the report.
This will have an impact on fisheries industries for humans, so not only will nature take a hit, but we will too. Fisheries are based around these bigger fish, and there will be less food to go around for it to eat. And it’s not just fish either: the scientists expect that oysters, mussels, and corals will also struggle due to global warming, which further harms reef fish.