ocean warming

Ocean warming due to climate change has been evident in some parts of the world, especially in the waters of the ice continents of Antarctica and Arctic for almost 200 years. Previous research has suggested has failed to point out its effect on global marine food-web dynamics, as per a new study.

To address the knowledge gap, researchers from the Rutgers University in New Jersey found that climate change can extremely disrupt or reshuffle the population of certain species in marine ecosystems as a response to the threat posed by the global heating effect.

Marine Ecosystem Reshuffle

Ocean warming

(Photo : Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)

In the new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Wednesday, April 13, scientists emphasized the impact of ocean warming on the increase of species’ ranges, which are likely to continue in the long-term future.

These ranges pertain to the historical-geographical locations of current marine animals. With the looming threat of ocean warming, the unprecedented reshuffling of marine ecosystems or the increasing physical distance amongst marine species, especially between predators and prey, will further widen.

Using a sophisticated computer model, the scientists were able to predict that the abundance of fish in a region will be the opposite in the future. For instance, the study set an example that a fisherman in the Atlantic Ocean may still reportedly catch fish two centuries from now but they will be fewer in numbers.

Also Read: Ocean Warming Makes the Water ‘Louder,’ Impacting Marine Life

Food-Web Dynamics

The authors of the study cited that this certain discovery on the effect of global warming on food-web dynamics has been neglected by previous studies and predictions.

In particular, the Rutgers researchers highlighted that a micro approach to marine species in the past has largely failed to consider that such food-web interactions will affect marine life and their natural habitats on a global scale that has never been seen before.

Amongst the marine species, the study shows that large predators will be the most affected sea creatures as they have a history of staying longer compared to smaller fish, as cited by Phys.org.

Poleward Migration

Responding to the rising temperatures, smaller fish have the tendency to engage in poleward migration due to the colder temperatures of the Arctic and Antarctic waters.

Compared to the tropical or sub-tropics regions of the major oceans such as the Atlantic and the Pacific, the study implies that marine life consisting of millions of species may find its way to shift towards the polar regions; as part of a ‘dramatic reorganization of life’ on Earth, as per Phys.org.

Ocean Warming and Climate Change

In a 2019 study published in the journal Science, scientists claimed that ocean warming has been occurring more quickly than previously thought. Oceans are heating up 40% faster on average, greater than the estimates of the United Nations panel presented in 2014, as cited by The New York Times.

This ocean heating has been attributed to the acceleration of the process of the greenhouse effect, as various human-made industries have continued their greenhouse gas emissions since the onset of the Industrial Revolution during the 1700s.

Within the climatic context of global warming, trapped human-induced greenhouse gases (GHG), including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, into the atmosphere absorb more solar heat than the said natural process, as per the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Related Article: Global Warming is Responsible for the Decline in Fish Population


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