Featured Image: Stockholm University/Christensen/Azote
A new survey from Nature found that marine animals are twice as vulnerable to climate change-driven habitat loss as their non-marine counterparts because unlike land animals, there’s nowhere for them to seek shelter or burrow to escape the sweltering heat.
Marine animals are used to living in temperatures that don’t change much and rely on their surroundings to keep their body temperature regulated but with rising temperatures, their safety is being threatened. And while ocean temperatures aren’t near as hot as those on land, the oceans’ temperatures are much higher than ever before. Many are attributing the rapid decline of marine species to a lack of shelter and the inability to adapt to changing temperatures. It is undeniable that the ocean is warming. Not only that, but it is also becoming more acidic. This combination is proving to be unkind to many marine species.
The lead author of the study, Malin Pinsky, an ecologist and research at Rutgers University, says that even a small 2-degree temperature change can significantly affect a marine animal’s ability to find food.
The study followed 318 land-dwelling species and 88 marine-dwelling species. It found that marine species had less room for margin and were more susceptible to extinction.
An ecologist at Tulane University, Alex Gunderson, says, “The results of this study are a further wake-up call that we need to protect forests and other natural environments because of the temperature buffer that they provide to wildlife in a warming climate.”
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