diversity Marine life It could suffer its biggest decline since the extinction of the dinosaurs. The scenario is the result of greenhouse gas emissions described in a new study by researchers at Princeton University, who model the future for marine biodiversity under different climate projections.
Professor Curtis Deutsch and lead author Justin Penn began the study by combining physiological data from marine species with models of climate change. The idea was to predict how changing habitat conditions would affect the survival of marine animals around the world in the coming centuries, and to compare the model to mass extinctions The past, recorded in fossils.
They found that the model displaying marine biodiversity is the fossil record of End Permian extinction The distribution of species observed today follows a similar pattern: as ocean temperatures rise and the availability of oxygen decreases, the abundance of marine life decreases. This is because, in addition to being a risk factor for species that are adapted to cold temperatures, warmer water also contains less dissolved oxygen than colder water.
This difference affects the oxygen supply in the ocean, causing more consequences: the metabolic rates of the species rise as the water temperature rises, so the demand for oxygen increases, while the availability of this decreases. Ben warns that “once the oxygen supply drops below what the species needs, we expect to see significant losses in it.”
The authors note that polar species are more likely to become extinct globally because they cannot live in other habitats; Tropical marine species should do better because they have the resources to deal with the warm, low-oxygen waters of the tropics, so they must migrate as waters warm south and north of the tropics.
For Deutsch, the study highlights the need for immediate action to avoid these scenarios. “Strong and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are critical to preventing major mass extinctions of species in the oceans,” he explained.
On the other hand, Ben believes that the situation can still be changed. “The good news is that the future is not set in stone,” he said. “There is still time to change course CO2 انبعاثات emissions and avoid the scale of warming that could cause this mass extinction.”
The article with the results of the study was published in the journal Science.
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