Wed, 29 Jun 2022


Warming oceans are making predators hungrier! Scientists point out that warmer seas tend to favor animals higher up the food chain, which become more active and require more food; the prey can only pay for it.


Experiments showed that predation was more intense in warmer waters. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

Washington, D.C. (Merxwire) - The global greenhouse gas concentration continues to increase, making ocean warming, sea-level rise, and other problems more and more serious, which has had a long-term impact on the ecology. An study shows that warming oceans are making predators hungrier, a condition that could disrupt the ocean's ecological balance for thousands of years. The research was published in the international academic journal Science.

Teams from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) and Temple University coordinated partners at 36 locations along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, from Alaska in the north to Tierra de Fuego at the tip of South America. The researchers conducted the same three experiments with predators and prey at each site to observe changes in the ecosystem.

The first experiment was to observe the responses and behavior of predators through "dried squid." The researchers attached dried squid to wooden stakes, leaving them underwater to attract fish. The experiment results showed that predation was more intense in warmer waters, while in cooler waters, predation decreased, even dropping to near zero below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Warming oceans have melted glaciers and are already affecting the ecology. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

The researchers found that fish love to eat stationary "underwater invertebrates" such as tunicates and bryozoans, so a second experiment used underwater invertebrates as prey to see how predators affected them. The researchers allowed invertebrates to colonize and grow on plastic panels, some protected in cages and others in open cages.

In the final experiment, the researchers placed protective cages around all the prey for ten weeks and then left half of the prey open for another two weeks. The results showed that the total prey population dropped dramatically in the tropics when there was no cage protection, but in the coldest regions, there was little difference in the total prey population with or without cage protection.

Co-author Emmett Duffy said in SERC News Release that warmer waters tend to favor animals higher up the food chain, which become more active and require more food, which The prey can only pay for it. This suggests that warming oceans could lead to major changes in sensitive seabed habitats.

From the Industrial Revolution to the present, humans have produced enough carbon dioxide to warm the earth for hundreds of years. In addition to climate change and ocean warming, the melting some glaciers has also reached an irreversible level, affecting both marine and terrestrial ecology. Humanity needs to accelerate the rate of net-zero emissions to improve the problem at the source and help the planet's sustainable development.

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