Impacts of climate change and Temperature Rise can be drastic on all living organisms and numerous studies keep surfacing that account for the fact that the threat is real and could become worse in a few decades if not right away. Some marine ecologists have undertaken a study that demonstrates that the sudden decline of even 1 degree in seawater temperature, a change that is projected to happen in about fifty years from now, can drastically alter marine ecosystems.
The researchers, led by Gail Ashton, a marine ecologist at the Tiburon, California based Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, took the heat directly to the ocean. In the world’s first studies of its kind, researchers encased an electric heating elements in small plastic boxes. The boxes were planted into parts of sea floor near the Rothera Research Station, Antarctica.
Using the heating elements, the researchers heated a thin layer of water to 1 or 2 degrees Celsius above the water’s ambient temperature. The increased temperature of water corresponds with the expected temperature rise of shallow seas across the globe in the next 50 and 100 years, respectively, assuming that no additional efforts are undertaken to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions presently. The researchers analyzed the distribution and growth of the marine species that grew or settled on the warmer boxes and compared them with the marine species that grew above similar but unheated boxes.
After the study ended, it came to the notice of the researchers that species diversity had plummeted in the warmer section of water, and certain tiny, colonial mosses grew up to an extent that they dominated the sea floor. The research shows that highly significant changes are expected to be witnessed fairly soon if no actions are done to change the situation.