Warming Oceans Driving Marine Species Away From Equator, Reveals Study

Climate change over the years has drastically affected the ecosystems, and marine life is also not spared from it. A recent study stated that with the increase in oceanic temperatures, several marine species are migrating away from the Equator to avoid the heat. It has been revealed that marine species are fleeing from their habitat in the equator due to changes in the oceanic temperatures, resulting in a decline in the population of marine species near the equator.

Published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was conducted as a culmination of the Ph.D. of its lead author Chhaya Chaudhari at the University of Auckland.  She along with several others thoroughly studied data and literature of certain taxonomic groups profoundly, including crustaceans, fish and worms. The study material was acquired from the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS).

Warming Oceans Driving Marine Species Away From Equator, Reveals Study

Several marine species are migrating away from the Equator to avoid the heat | Image: Mark Costello

Professor, University of Auckland Mark J. Costello, one of the co-authors of the research said,

Our work shows that human-caused climate change has already affected marine biodiversity at a global scale across all kinds of species. Climate change is with us now, and its pace is accelerating. We can predict the general shift in species diversity, but because of the complexity of ecological interactions, it is unclear how species’ abundance and fisheries will change with climate change.

The researchers analyzed as many as 48,661 marine species that included pelagic (those living in open water) as well benthic (those living on the seabed). The study has revealed that to avoid warmer water, marine species have shifted towards the northern hemisphere. However, the number of migrating pelagic is more as compared to benthic species. Another interesting fact is that the shift of marine species is less towards the southern hemisphere, as the waters in the southern hemisphere are warmer than the northern hemisphere.

Tropical regions that were considered ideal for marine species are no longer suitable for them. This has happened because now these regions have become too hot for marine species. Authors have found that marine species start to decrease once the annual mean sea temperature exceeds 20 degrees.

The continued changes in climate and increasing global temperatures have jeopardized every living being on the planet. If humans refuse to mend their ways and continue on the path of destruction, it will bring about the end of life on earth as we know it.

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