Scientists confirm climate change has diversified plankton

03 June 2019 | Adaptation

Scientists all over the world scramble to find out how the rise in water temperature in the oceans and seas have affected the balance in the ecosystem of the area. The alterations in the migration routes to the massive coral bleaching across the globe have been causing changes in various marine life.

Plankton, considered as ubiquitous organisms, are being used by scientists to view the changes that have occurred in the environment. Centuries of plankton records including live-capture data only shows the impact of human industrialization to these creatures.

Researchers could clearly note the difference in the communities of plankton floating in the ocean waters from 170 years ago to the present. The study was published in the journal Nature. The ratio of plankton to the species that depend on it for food has dramatically changed in proportion due to the change in temperature. This is a clear indication that the warming waters of the ocean have greatly affected the ecosystem under the water. Alterations in the population as well as in the survival of the species have all become dependent on climate change.

While the fact that climate change affects wildlife, both on land and in water, is no longer new, the recent study about plankton and how the survival of such species have evolved through time shows a complete set of data that spans lifetimes. In fact, it cuts deep into centuries that only confirms how much change it has to undergo due to human activities.

Planktonic foraminifera provides a comprehensive report of layer after layer of fossil records. Their hard calcite shells have become well-preserved in layers of sediments at the bottom of the ocean.

"The organisms are indeed a good source of information primarily because they are well-preserved and that they populate in waters from across the globe," said Lukas Jonkers, a paleontological oceanographer, whose studies are part of the research that he does for the University of Bremen in Germany. Though the said plankton are rarely found in shallow waters or in the surface of the ocean, these types of plankton populate in greater depths. "In fact, in some areas, they serve as the carpet for the seafloor," Jonkers added.

"We were all expecting to see a great difference from what it was in the past to how it is now, but we never expected it to be so clear," Jonkers said. The results of this new study only indicate how marine life is also suffering because of global warming.



Source: Science Times