Marine organisms have shifted ranges to the poles six times faster than the land

In response to global warming, marine organisms migrate to the poles six times faster than land. To such conclusion the researchers in the data analysis of the twelve thousand species of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Their paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The authors believe that marine organisms are more sensitive to climate change because the ocean is less barriers to resettlement. In addition, their migration may encourage commercial fishing.

Anthropogenic climate change has a serious impact on biodiversity. As soon as the planet heats up, the familiar environment becomes for many the. To survive, they have to migrate to regions with cooler climates, like climbing mountains or displace habitats towards the poles. Unfortunately, often this process is not fast enough.

A team of researchers led by Jonathan Lenoir (Jonathan Lenoir) from the University of Picardy behalf of the Jules Verne conducted an extensive review of literature on the shifts of the habitats of living organisms response to global warming. In total, they examined 258 peer-reviewed articles, which described 30 534 climatic migrations of the twelve thousand species of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. This information formed the basis of a single database BioShifts.

Scientists were able to identify some patterns. It turned out that marine organisms shift habitats toward the poles at an average of six kilometres a year. Animals migrate nearly six times slower. According to the authors, this is due to the fact that the oceans are a lot less barriers to settlement — in particular, the habitat is not fragmented by people on land.

In addition, the types of tropical waters today live at the limit of thermal stability, so that migration remains their only chance to survive. In a temperate climate plays an important role not associated with the climate change factor — the commercial catch of marine organisms. Pressure of the target species more quickly adopt high latitudes.

The higher the rate of migration of marine organisms means that the underwater ecosystem will change under the impact of climate change faster than land. This also applies to the communities that support important species of fish and marine invertebrates.

The authors emphasize that in General there is a clear lack of data on migration of living organisms as a result of global warming. So, they created BioShifts database includes information only about six-tenths of a percent of the known biodiversity, with the main focus on charismatic species of animals and plants. In addition, it suffers from a geographical bias: the majority used articles devoted to temperate latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, while observations of tropical and southern hemisphere are rare and not systematic.

Despite the ability of some species to migrate in response to changing climate, this is not enough to avoid massive loss of biodiversity. First and foremost from this process affected the tropics. Studies showthat the increase in temperature is just two degrees leads outside the temperature tolerance 71 percent of the species inhabiting tropical forests. And tropical surface waters of the World ocean by the end of the century can lose 15 percent of biodiversity.

Sergey Knee High

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