Monday, November 7, 2011

Pace of climate change

 Rising temperatures will force many species of animals and plants to move to other regions and could leave some marine species with nowhere to go, according to new research, The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems, just published in the journal Science.

When temperatures rise, plants and animals that need a cooler environment move to new regions. The land is warming about three times faster than the ocean so you might simply expect species to move three times faster on land, but that's not the case. 

If the land temperature becomes too hot for some species, they can move to higher ground where temperatures are generally cooler. That's not an option for many marine species which live at, or near, the surface of the ocean. When temperatures rise, species such as fish will be able to move into deeper water to find the cooler environments they prefer -- but other species, such as marine plants or slow-moving corals, will have to move further to find suitable habitats and could become trapped if there are no cooler places for them to go.

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