BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Due to the massive amounts of gas emissions and climate change, the marine food chain will collapse in the coming decades, and the diversity of aquatic life will be significantly impacted. It’s an unfortunate consequence brought forward by global warming.
The water’s temperatures will rise, along with the ocean’s acidity. This will undoubtedly affect all the marine life, which are further impended by human pollution and overfishing from adapting to climate change.
Researchers and marine ecologists at the University of Adelaide in Australia have studied 632 published papers and experiments of the world’s oceans. They found that the diversity is rapidly declining and that there is limited time for the fish to acclimatize themselves. Essentially, oceans will go through a “simplification”, where a few species will be disappearing and some struggling.
Global warming is becoming a major problem that is getting worse far too rapidly.
Due to the world’s waters absorbing heightened amounts of carbon dioxide, they have become 30% more acidic. This will make it difficult for corals, oysters or mussels to develop their protective shells, which will lead to a decrease in their population. Furthermore, this will change the behavior of most fish.
According to Ivan Nagelkerken, very few except the microorganisms will be able to adapt to this change. The smaller plankton will indeed increase in numbers, but this reportedly not good news for small fish. While they will have more food, the warming temperatures forces changes in their metabolism. It will stunt their growth.
This will further be a problem for the bigger, carnivore fish that depend on the smaller herbivores. Because of the higher temperatures within their oceans, their metabolism will, as well, demand more food. It’s an unfortunate “cascading effect” because they will need more food, but less and less will become available.
As stated by Nagelkerken, the entire chain will “collapse from the top of the food chain down”. Species will struggle and likely fall out of existence due to the unmet requirements for them to live and thrive.
Researchers have also noted an increase in hypoxia, meaning that the amount of oxygen in the waters is decreasing. This, combined with the hazards of overfishing, direct pollution, and warming temperatures will see a significant impact on marine life. Many things are set to change in their ecosystem.
The problem will also affect coastal communities who depend on fish population for food or trade. According to Nagelkerken, the problem has already started, and it will become gradually worse within the next 50 to 100 years if measures aren’t taken.
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