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The Effects of Global Warming in Marine Biology

Marine life is mostly affected by the climate change / Photo by Alexey Seafare via Shutterstock

 

The world is experiencing rapid changes as climate change takes it tolls on Earth. Every living organism that lives on Earth will likely to experience catastrophe and changes that might have a great effect on everybody’s lives. The rise in the temperature causes different species to adapt and find a way on how they are going to survive it. One of the most affected ecosystems is marine life.

This year, the world’s ocean reached 17 degrees Celsius, their highest average temperature since record keeping for these data began in the 19th century. The marine environment is already registering the impacts of climate change. It faces challenges from warming waters and ocean acidification. The warming waters alter the latitude and depth at which certain species are able to survive, so many species are moving deeper or farther north in the Atlantic to find cold water.

In a recent post by Science Daily, they shared that global warming has affected the fish population in Eastern English Channel and Southern North Sea. Experts on marine biology stressed out that the sudden change in the structure of the marine ecosystem could also affect the marine environment. Climate change is likely to affect the survival of fish fry and thus the population dynamics of several of the most important species in global waters.

Ocean’s Heat

New York Times shared on their online article that climate change greatly affects the rapid temperature change in the world’s oceans. This sudden change in temperature could be very dangerous in marine inhabitants and it could also create more disastrous and extreme weather events that could also affect the human species who lives near the bodies of the ocean.

Rising air temperatures affect the physical nature of the oceans. As air temperature rise, water becomes less dense and separates from a nutrient-filled cold layer below. This is the basis for a chain effect that impacts all marine life that counts on these nutrients for survival. Warmer surface water dissipates more readily into vapor, making it easier for small ocean storms to escalate into larger, more powerful systems.

Global warming is causing an unprecedented number of powerful storms and extreme weather events. These can cause large tidal surges and battering waves which are extremely harmful to coastal ecosystems and the animals which live in them. Global changes shared on their website that changes in sea temperature could have an effect on the circulation of air in the atmosphere and it also changes the amount of the vapor in the air.

Beat the Heat

It is important to develop a satisfactory monitoring system for all of the world’s coastal and marine areas. Global sea levels may rise by as much as 69cm during the next 100 years due to the melting of glaciers and polar ice, and thermal expansion of warmer water. Rising water levels will have serious impacts on marine ecosystems. The amount of light reaching offshore plants and algae dependent on photosynthesis could be reduced, while coastal habitats are already being flooded.

Climate change in the ocean can be addressed with the same effective tools as many other threats to marine life. The establishment of global networks of no-take marine reserves is an important step. Managers and scientists need the capacity to react progressively to changing oceanographic regimes, coral bleaching, and other climate-generated processes.

Humans must learn how to focus specifically on carbon dioxide reductions within the general goal of greenhouse gas reductions and help govern the global carbon cycle, which makes Earth capable of sustaining life. To do this, people must conserve and restore the ocean and coastal places that collect and store carbon using a science-based, data-driven approach. Ocean protection must be reinforced to protect and safeguard the ocean’s capacity to store carbon and include information on the status of ocean sinks in global assessments of progress to date and to come.

Save the Oceans, Save the World

Climate change may also promote the spread of infectious agents in oceans. Notably, warming water temperatures can expand these agents’ ranges and introduce diseases to areas where they were previously known. Many other species are also showing increased effects from marine diseases. The frequency of coral diseases has increased significantly over the last 10 years, causing widespread mortality among reef-building corals, which are home to more than 25 percent of all marine fish species.

Also, the warming of the oceans and its effect on marine life has a direct impact on human life. As coral reefs die, the world loses an entire ecological habitat of fish. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a small increase of 2 degrees Celsius would destroy almost all existing coral reefs. Additionally, ocean circulation changes to warming would have a disastrous effect on marine fisheries.

The blanket of carbon dioxide people have been building for over a hundred years acts like a greenhouse, trapping more of the sun’s heat. More heat means warmer ocean, which is taking its toll on marine life. It also causes the ocean to become more acidic, which makes it hard for organisms like corals and clams to build their skeletons and shells.

 

Coral diseases caused a widespread mortality among reef-building corals / Photo by Rich Carey via Shutterstock

 

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