Paris, April 6 2021: Climate change from global warming is threatening marine ecosystems and also the livelihoods of people dependent on ocean life. Warmer waters have driven species away from the equator.
Warmer parts of the globe, the the tropics have a diverse oceanic ecosystem which has been under threat for at least 60 years according to Mark Costello, a professor of Marine Biology at University of Auckland.
Poleward migration was more pronounced north of the equator, where oceans have warmed more quickly than in the southern hemisphere. Marine life in tropical waters declines when annual average sea temperature rises above 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, depending on the species, the study found.
Fossil records show that the same thing happened 140,000 years ago, the last time global surface temperatures were as hot as they are now. In general, open-water species are likely to fare better, earlier research.
“Indonesia and other nations near the equator, such as in West Africa, have the most to lose because their stocks can only decrease,” as no new species will replace those leaving, Costello said.
Globally, about 1.3 billion people live in coastal tropical areas, many of which rely on fisheries for food. A recent review article in Nature estimated that the maximum catch potential of tropical fish stocks would decline 40 percent by mid-century if global warming continues unabated.
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