Daily News Analysis

Climate change shrinks marine life richness near equator: study


GS PAPER III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Context: Research published finds that the total number of open-water species declined by about half in the 40 years up to 2010 in tropical marine zones worldwide.

  • During that time, sea surface temperatures in the tropics rose nearly 0.2℃.
  • There is mounting evidence that the warming of waters due to climate change may be taking a large toll as well — both off the island’s coast and globally.
  • Climate change is already impacting marine species diversity distribution,” with changes being more dramatic in the Northern Hemisphere where waters have warmed faster.
  • While numerous factors like overfishing have impacted tropical species, there is a strong correlation between species decline and rising temperature.
  • Fish species diversity tended to either plateau or decline at or above 20℃.

‘Blink of an eye’

  • Ocean warming is driving some species to migrate to cooler waters.
  • The number of species attached to the seafloor remained somewhat stable in the tropics between the 1970s and 2010.