Marine Food Chain Collapse Is Imminent?

Posted: Oct 14 2015, 6:08am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 14 2015, 8:42pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Marine Food Chain Collapse Is Imminent?
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Climbing carbon dioxide and climate change is reducing diversity and many key species of the marine ecosystems around the world.

Climate change is disturbing the marine ecosystem immensely.

Marine ecologists from the University of Adelaide made a comprehensive analysis of the world's oceans, from tropical to arctic waters and a range of ecosystems from coral reefs. They found that the uptake of carbon dioxide and warming is reducing diversity as well as many key species of the marine ecosystems around the world. It will eventually lead to a food chain collapse.

"This 'simplification' of our oceans will have profound consequences for our current way of life, particularly for coastal populations and those that rely on oceans for food and trade.” Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, Australian Research Council (ARC) said in a statement.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the data obtained from more than 600 published experiments about marine environments and complex interaction between various marine species across the globe and tried to find out their responses to the increasing carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. 

“We know relatively little about how climate change will affect the marine environment,” said Professor Sean Connell, co-author of the study. “Until now, there has been almost total reliance on qualitative reviews and perspectives of potential global change. Where, quantitative assessments exist, they typically focus on single stressors, single ecosystems or single species.” 

“This analysis combines the results of all the experiments to study the combined effects of multiple stressors on whole communities, including species interactions and different measures of responses to climate change."

Researchers predict that most of the species living in oceans will not be able to adjust to the radical change in their environment. Only few will escape the negative effects of ocean acidification and climate change. As a consequence, marine ecosystems will lose diversity and abundance in species and there will not be enough food available for the people who rely heavily on ocean food.

"With higher metabolic rates in the warmer water, and therefore a greater demand for food, there is a mismatch with less food available for carnivores - the bigger fish that fishery industries are based around," said Nagelkerken. "There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down."

The study was published in PNAS.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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