By Laura Marcos
The increase in temperature, as a result of climate change, that the planet is suffering It is already having an impact on certain ecosystems on Earth, and one of the most immediate and alarming is that of the Antarctic Ocean.Recent events show that profound changes are occurring in this ecosystem.
But what would happen if your global temperature increased by one degree Celsius? It may seem little, but temperature, understood as global temperature, has not unimportant effects.
This is what a group of researchers has asked themselves, observing the impacts on a marine complex thathas heated between one and two degrees centigrade. They call it"the most realistic ocean warming experiment conducted to date", and this is attested by the document, published in the magazineCurrent Biology.
So Gail Ashton of the Smithsonian Center for Environmental Research and her team heated an area of the seabed around Rothera Research Station and observed what happened. The result:the effects of climate change far exceed expectations.
The experiment showed thatWith a temperature rise of one degree Celsius, the population of a single pioneer species of bryozoa (Fenestrullin rugula) it shot itself, and ended up dominating the community, leading to a reduction in overall species diversity and uniformity within just two months. On the other hand,individuals of a marine worm, Romanchella perrieri, also grew to an average size 70% larger than those under ambient conditions.
The procedure they used wasRoll out settling panels to heat a thin layer of water by a degree or two above room temperature. Those increases in global temperature are expected within the next 50 and 100 years, respectively.
After heating a natural seafloor in the Southern Ocean by just one or two degrees, the researchers observed massive massive impacts on a marine ensemble, as growth rates almost doubled.
Gail Ashton has expressed surprise at the results of the study:"I did not expect such a significant difference observable in Antarctic communities. I have spent most of my career working in temperate climates where communities experience much greater temperature fluctuations and I did not expect such an accurate response in just one degree centigrade of change. "
Furthermore, the responses of the organismsat a temperature rise of two degrees Celsius they were even more variable. Growth rate responses to warming differed between species, ages, and seasons. Species generally grew faster in an Antarctic summer warming. However, different responses between species were observed in March, when both food availability for suspension feeders and ambient temperature decreased, the researchers report.
Predicting how organisms and entire communities will respond to climate change in the future remains a major challenge. The researchers say the findings suggest thatclimate change could have even greater effects on polar marine ecosystems than previously anticipated. As the planet warms, there will be winners (like the Bryozoan Fenestrulina rugula),but also losers.
Warming by 1 ° C Drives Species and Assemblage Level Responses in Antarctica’s Marine Shallows
Gail V. Ashton. (2017). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.048.