June 27, 2022
A planet at risk of mass extinction in the oceans

A planet at risk of mass extinction in the oceans

At the time it was a meteorite and volcanoes that wiped out life on Earth, but now humans may be to blame.

If climate change does not have a drastic and rapid response, the greenhouse gases that warm the oceans and consume oxygen, as well as the destruction of “habitats” and coastal pollution, will wipe out marine life.

In the article signed by scientists from the University of Washington and Princeton, it was recalled that the emission of large amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases radically alters the Earth’s climate system and threatens many species.

The study cautioned that while it is difficult to observe the impact of climate on biodiversity, particularly on ocean life, if one takes into account the fossil record illustrating earlier periods of mass extinction caused by drastic environmental changes, “The future of ocean life as we know it, under rampant climate change, is uncertain“.

Using a comprehensive ecophysiological model that weighs the physiological limits of a species according to predictions of sea temperature and oxygen, study authors, Justin Penn and Curtis Deutsch, assessed the extinction risk of oceanic species in various warming scenarios.

Its conclusion was that, If global warming continues unabated, marine ecosystems across the planet are likely to experience massive extinctions similar in size and intensity to the end of the Permian period, known as the Great Deaths, which occurred 250 million years ago and caused the disappearance of more than two-thirds of marine animals.

After the study, it is likely that it will be the tropical oceans that will lose most species with climate change, although many of them migrate to higher latitudes and under more favorable conditions for survival.

On the contrary, the polar species should become extinct, because its “habitat” will completely disappear.

Another warning

In another article, published alongside the cited article, scientists Malin Pinsky and Alexa Friedstone, of Rutgers University, New Jersey, assert that “Climate change is driving species from the ends of the earth“.

But they noted that reducing greenhouse gas emissions could reduce the risk of extinction by up to 70%.

In this way, they confirmed that preventing large-scale biodiversity loss and the sixth mass extinction is now a “global priority”.

Whether humanity faces the worst or best-case scenario will depend on the decisions society makes, not only about climate change, but also about “habitat” destruction, overfishing, and coastal pollution.“, careful.

In this way, “with a coordinated focus that addresses multiple threats, ocean life as we know it has a better chance of surviving, in this century and beyond,” Pinsky and Friedstone emphasized.