Featured Image Credit: National Geographic
By Sarah Sharkey
Two unique studies have shown a range expansion of two very different ocean species. In recent years, both the common bottlenose dolphin and bull sharks have been shown to head further north than ever before.
The familiar common bottlenose dolphin is associated with warm and tropical waters. However, a herd of over 200 wild bottlenose dolphins found their way up to British Columbia waters.
Previously, bull sharks were known to only go as far north as Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Now they have been spotted in the Pamlico Sound of North Carolina.
Separately, these occurrences would just be interesting ranges expansions. Together, it shows that our ocean is warming and affecting the creatures within it.
With warmer waters, many more ocean-dwelling animals will start to expand their ranges further north. The animals that are already as far north as you can go, will be forced to either adapt or allow their range to shrink as the waters around the world warm.
Although the water temperature has not risen dramatically yet, it could heat up more quickly in the near future. We should expect to see many more range expansions as our ocean temperature rises in conjunction with air temperatures around the world.
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