When we read that temperatures increase a degree or two as a result of global warming, we are not usually alarmed: it does not seem that much. Just a little warmer temperature .
However, it is worth analyzing what happens in marine habitats if the Antarctic Ocean warms by only one or two degrees Celsius.
A doubling of growth rates
The experiment on the side effects that take place when the Antarctic ocean warms only one or two degrees has been published in the journal Current Biology . And they were surprising results for many experts.
What Gail Ashton and her colleagues from the British Antarctic Survey in the UK and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in the US did is heat an area of the seabed around Rothera Research Station and see what happened.
To achieve this, they deployed hot panels to heat a thin layer of water 1 ° C or 2 ° C above room temperature. Those increases in global temperature are expected within the next 50 and 100 years, respectively .
At 1 ºC extra, all biological diversity was reduced , only multiplying a single pioneer species of bryozoan (‘Fenestrulina rugula’), which dominated the community. Individuals of a marine worm, ‘Romanchella perrieri’, also grew to an average size 70 percent larger than under ambient conditions.
At 2 ° C they were much more variable and the responses of the growth rate to warming differed between species, ages and seasons. The researchers say the findings suggest that climate change could have even greater effects on polar marine ecosystems than had been anticipated.
Still, the ocean around Antarctica could be the last place on Earth to be hit by the effects of climate change. A new study published in Nature Geoscience and conducted by the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).