Have you heard about global warming pushing several animals from their natural habitats? Well, it is true and now a new study revealed that global warming is forcing several marine species to leave the equator region towards the pole.
The new study said that there was a drop in marine species in the warm waters around the equator. The University of Auckland led the study. USC, the University of Queensland and CSIRO collaborated with the study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.
USC Australia Professor of Global Change Ecology David Schoeman, who co-authored the study, said they examined data on the distribution of 48,661 marine species since 1955 to assess the impact of climate change on species diversity across latitudes. The professor noted that recent studies showed a slight dip in species richness at the equator. Since 1970s, a decline in species was seen at the equator relative to an increase at mid latitudes. There was a shift to the northern hemisphere, the study said.
Though land animals are also moving closer to the poles, the shift is at a slow pace. The researchers noted that amphibians moved up slope at over 12 metres a year. On the other hand, Marine species moved towards the poles at an average pace of nearly 6 kilometres per year. With respect to marine species, the researchers noted that pelagic species moved upward more than any other did. Schoeman said the number of benthie species (organisms attached to sea floor such as seaweeds, corals and oysters) has not actually declined at the equator. However, he said that population of pelagic species dropped significantly between 1965 and 1985, and further dropped by 2010.
The researchers say that the marine species can migrate easier than land animals, which could be one of the reasons for the speedy migration. Moreover, human activities often impede the movement of animals in land.