Marine Life Breeding Earlier As Oceans Warm

An international study has found that warming oceans are impacting the breeding patterns and habitat of marine life.

Asian Scientist (Aug. 7, 2013) – Warming oceans are changing the breeding patterns and habitat of marine life, an international study has found.

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, looked at published research from around the world, identifying more than 1700 reported changes in marine life breeding and migration. Over 200 changes were reported in Australia alone.

According to the researchers, marine species are shifting their geographic distribution towards cooler regions. They are are doing so much faster than their land-based counterparts.

“Given these findings, we expect marine organisms to have responded to recent climate change, with magnitudes similar to or greater than those found for terrestrial species,” said Dr Elvira Poloczanska, lead author of the study.

The research team also considered changes in species’ life cycle, such as breeding times and found that these are also changing as seas warm.

On average, breeding and migration are occurring much earlier in the sea with the timing for marine species advancing by 4.4 days each decade.

This is much faster than land based species which are breeding around 2.3 – 2.8 days earlier each decade.

According to Dr Poloczanska, this widespread reorganization of marine ecosystems is likely to have a significant effect on the services that these ecosystems provide to humans.

“For example, some of the favorite catches of recreational and commercial fishers are likely to decline, while other species, not previously in the area, could provide new fishing opportunities,” she said

The article can be found at: Poloczanska et al. (2013) Global Imprint Of Climate Change On Marine Life.


Source: CSIRO; Photo: Anderson Smith2010/Flickr/CC.
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