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Current Affairs

Climate change making marine species migrate towards poles

Date: 03 June 2020 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

Rising temperatures, shifts in precipitation patterns, and changes in vegetations, all direct effects of a warmer world, are changing the range and distribution of many species,  they are now forced flee from their normal habitats to find more suitable places.

 

Background

Marine species are actually moving to the poles six times faster than those on land, according to a recent meta-analysis that compared over 30,000 habitat shifts in more than 12,000 species.

 

Details

  • Land species are moving closer to the poles as the planet heats up but this shift is at a pace that is much slower than expected, especially in areas with warm climates. Instead, marine species are following global thermal shifts much closer.

  • Marine species were found to move towards the poles at an average pace of six kilometres per year, while land animals showed a pace of almost 1.8 meters per year – which is faster than previous estimates but still much slower than marine species.

  • This might be due to air sensitivity. Air transports heat less effectively than water and land animals can easily regulate their body temperature.

  • This means marine species are more susceptible to the changing temperatures on the planet due to global warming. At the same time, animals in the water are capable to migrate easier when they have to, while on land the movement of animals is more difficult due to human activities and geography.

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation due to land-use changes may impede the ability of terrestrial species to track shifting isotherms. These complex interactions need to be accounted for to improve scenarios of biodiversity redistribution and its consequences on human well-being.

  • Today, animals are already swimming towards the poles and are at risk of running out of cooler water, competing with each other. This is happening on land too, with animals going up in the mountains.