Apr 29, 2017 01:00 PM EDT
The University of Adelaide demonstrates how climate change affects the world's fish supplies. Published in the journal "Global Change Biology", the researchers concluded that high carbon dioxide expected by the end of the century will boost the production of the food web. However, ocean warming cancelled this benefit.
Apparently, the continuous rise in global temperatures is causing stress to marine animals, preventing them from using the increased resources efficiently. If they do not grow properly, humans could lose their fish diets. The bad thing is that people rely on different aids provided by ocean ecosystems. If the marine food web collapses, everything else will follow.
In the study, per Science Daily, the experts at the University of Adelaide constructed a series of three-level food webs and monitored the results over a number of months. This experiment provided them with understanding of future ecosystems under climate change. The food web was based on plants that use sunlight to grow such as algae. Small invertebrates like shrimp, as well as fishes, were also included.
A total of 12 large aquaria with different species to mimic seagrass were prepared. They had open sand and rocky reef habitats too, while simulated tidal movements occurred. These man-made oceans were then exposed to the levels of acidification predicted for the end of this century and natural processes like predation were observed.
Silvan Goldenberg, a PhD candidate, said in earlier media statements that elevated carbon dioxide concentrations boost plant growth. It means that more green foods for small invertebrates will sprout and small invertebrates, in turn will provide food for fish. However, ocean warming "cancelled" this good news.
Per the Adelaide News, stress to the animals makes them "less efficient" feeders. This will prevent the extra energy produced by the plants from reaching the fishes in the food web. In the same manner, fish are getting hungrier at higher temperatures that they started to annihilate their pray.
Professor Nagelkerken, the one handling Goldenberg, warned that the consequences for marine life are "likely to be severe". For one, oceans in the future may provide less fish and shellfish for humans to eat. Indeed, those at the top f the food chain would suffer the most.
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