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News of Climate Change

Oceans around the world are jam-packed with life. However, the continuous increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be the reason for the downfall of the subtle marine food chain. This according to a new report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) conducted by marine ecologists from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

This study, which is the first for marine responses to climate change, reveals the future of fishes in the ocean. The researchers studied 632 published studies related to coral reefs, kelp forests, open oceans, and tropical and arctic waters. Then, through a meta-analysis, they found out that the acidification of the ocean as well as the warming will possibly lead to the destruction of the diversity and number of species in oceans. Ivan Nagelkerken, Associate Professor and Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with the University’s Environment Institute said, “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.” In addition, another marine ecologist Professor Sean Connell said, “We know relatively little about how climate change will affect the marine environment. 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 these experiments to study the combined effects of multiple stressors on whole communities, including species interactions and different measures of responses to climate change.” With increased levels of acid and warmer environment, several species may not be able to cope up and survive, except for microorganisms. This will then increase the diversity of microorganisms in oceans. Unfortunately, when for example, plankton increases in number, it does not necessarily mean that the number of zooplanktons and other fishes will also increase. Then, bigger fish might experience scarcity in food. In a simple sense, this means that there will be an imbalance in the amount of food available for the species and the competition will be greater specially for hungry carnivores. This is according to Nagelkerken. Aside from the direct impact in the environment, humans will be affected too since the fisheries industry will be dramatically affected. Aside from fishes, scientists also expect that oysters, mussels, and corals will also have to struggle with the effects of global warming, which will further damage the ecosystem.

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