Marine ecosystems able to adapt to global warming



Global warming is a problem that requires the participation of scientists, engineers, and politicians. However, when considering this problem, the main attention of specialists is paid to carbon dioxide emissions. It is one of the factors accelerating the process of climate warming. In fact, there are other issues that need to be addressed, and they often remain outside the field of attention of the scientific community. One of these issues is the change in the pH of seawater as a result of an increase in carbon dioxide concentration.

Oceans and seas are becoming more “acidic,” and this is not about taste. This is a huge problem for a large number of living organisms, and therefore for ecosystems. The interaction between the various elements of marine and oceanic ecosystems, which came into equilibrium over many millions of years, is disrupted.

An example - because of the increased acidity of water, it becomes more difficult for mollusks to form shells, the main component of which is calcium carbonate. In some cases, an increase in the acidity of water even leads to a change in the behavior of some fish species .

The bulk of the research comes down to two different types: laboratory experiments with specific conditions and carefully selected species of living things, and research into changes in living nature. Each direction has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The other day, the results of a study by scientists from Adelaide University were published. The head of the study is Sylvan Goldenberg, it was he who came up with the idea to narrow the gap between the conditions of experiments in the laboratory and nature. Scientists decided to create a massive ecosystem in the laboratory, which is formed from a large number of species of living creatures. The entire ecosystem is represented by 1800 modules, which are called "mesocosms." As a result, it was really possible to form a sustainable ecosystem of more than 90 living creatures, from microorganisms to higher-order predators.

pH of seawater was adjusted up to 7.9. The temperature was raised three degrees compared to normal conditions. It is precisely such changes, according to scientists, that the seas and oceans await in 2100. This is in case if the level of carbon dioxide emissions will grow at the current rate.

As it turned out, most living organisms have adapted to new conditions. It was difficult for some types of fish - because of all these changes, the fish simply lost their ability to smell as sharply as in colder water with a different pH level. However, they were able to live, especially since algae, shrimp and some other species of marine life began to develop more actively.

As it turned out, the most negative impact of changing conditions has on the life of ecosystems and fewer living things. The smaller the “chain”, the more negative is the influence of external factors. But the more complex the ecosystem, the better it adapts to changing conditions. It turned out that most of the laboratory experiments that showed a sharply negative effect of warming and changes in the level of water acidity were carried out with a minimal set of living organisms.

As for research in nature, studying the effects of warming is a difficult task. Those factors that scientists consider to be the main ones do not always lead to observable results. Nevertheless, there is still a negative impact of global warming and an increase in the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this cannot be denied. Some organisms die without being able to adapt to change.

If the same algae grow more actively under changing conditions, and are able to supply biomass to representatives of local ecosystems, then corals, for example, cannot tolerate new conditions and die out. Entire coral reefs begin to change, corals massively die off and “bleach”.

Of course, humanity is trying to stop the onset of global climate change. So, on April 22, 2016, participants in the Climate Conference in Paris signed the Paris Agreement , which regulates measures to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 2020. Now great hopes are placed on this agreement. Its main task is to maintain the global average temperature growth below 2 ° C. However, a single agreement may not be enough. Now we need to not only reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, but also begin to withdraw this compound. But a person simply does not have the necessary technology to start doing this work. Now there is no consensus on the possibility of reversing the process of warming, or at least stop it. Many scientists believe that this is no longer possible. This means that not only marine organisms, but also people will have to adapt to new conditions.