Impacts of climate change on biodiversity

Change in climate has consequences on the biophysical environment such as changes in the start and length of the seasons, glacial retreat, decrease in Arctic sea ice extent and a rise in sea level.

Leaf-eating animals like koalas may not be so lucky: The mangroves and wetlands in Kakadu National Park are some of the areas under threat Impacts of climate change on biodiversity rising sea level.

Ocean acidification poses yet another challenge for corals because it makes it harder for corals to build their skeletons. As human activities, particularly agriculture but also settlement and industrial development, have expanded over the last few centuries, natural vegetation—such as forests, grasslands and heathlands—has been cleared in large swathes.

Climate change is predicted to take place faster in the next century than at any time for at least the last 10, years. This is a whitening of coral caused when the coral expels their zooxanthellaea symbiotic photosynthesising algae that lives within the coral tissues and provides it with essential nutrients.

Evolutionary responses Australian scientists have detected what they think is an Impacts of climate change on biodiversity response to rapid climate change amongst the fruitfly Drosophila—a species that often used in genetic experiments. Note, the ice in the Arctic does thaw and refreeze each year, but it is that pattern which has changed a lot in recent years as shown by this graph: As the level of greenhouse gases rises, so will temperatures.

Even a relatively small increase in average temperature will shift the climatic envelopes of such species outside their current distribution. Climate change The world is heating up.

The corroboree frog lives in a small area of New South Wales and Victoria. However, future projected changes in climate are much larger. Then, we present the principal specificities and caveats of the most common approaches used to estimate future biodiversity at global and sub-continental scales and we synthesize their results.

Image source In terms of biodiversity, the prospect of ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean implies the loss of an entire biomethe Global Biodiversity Outlook notes p.

CSIRO scientists predict that by average temperatures will rise above levels by around 0. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D. In addition, increased carbon dioxide causes acidification of the ocean, affecting creatures and plants that are sensitive to pH imbalances. Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation.

Such species will need to follow their climatic envelopes by migrating to cooler and moister environments, usually uphill or southwards in the southern hemisphere. At the most basic levels of biodiversity, climate change is able to decrease genetic diversity of populations due to directional selection and rapid migration, which could in turn affect ecosystem functioning and resilience Botkin et al.

Changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services due to climate change are not all negative, with some species either thriving or adapting.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that bytemperatures may rise as much as 6 degrees Celsius 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the impacts of climate change may be sudden, but in many cases societies will have some years to adapt their management of biodiversity as conditions change.

Indeed, as this chart also shows, the warming in the oceans has been occurring for quite some time: A lot of CO2 that has been emitted into the atmosphere has been absorbed by the oceans.

How Does Climate Change Affect Biodiversity?

Many changes have been reported in the distribution of species. Some species, primarily microorganisms and invertebrates with short generation times, might be able to adapt to changing conditions or evolve in response to climate change. At the species level, changes observed that can be attributed to climate change involve those surrounding phenology the timing of events.

The inter-connected nature of ecosystems means that the loss of species can have knock-on effects upon a range of ecosystem functions. The polar bear depends on sea ice.

Marine species will also need to adapt to warmer ocean temperatures.Biodiversity is affected by climate change, with negative consequences for human well-being, but biodiversity, through the ecosystem services it supports, also makes an important contribution to both climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

Some of the impacts of climate change may be sudden, but in many cases societies will have some years to adapt their management of biodiversity as conditions change. Increasing our understanding of the effects of climate change on biodiversity, and developing practical ways of mitigating such effects, are critical to limit the damage.

Climate change impacts on biodiversity in the Arctic The Arctic, Antarctic and high latitudes have had the highest rates of warming, and this trend is projected to continue, as the above-mentioned Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 notes (p.

56). Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity Céline Bellard, # 1 Cleo Bertelsmeier, # 1 Paul Leadley, 1 Wilfried Thuiller, 2 and Franck Courchamp 1 1 Ecologie, Systématique & Evolution, UMR CNRS. As climate change alters temperature and weather patterns, it will also impact plant and animal life.

Scientists expect the number and range of species, which define biodiversity, will decline greatly as temperatures continue to rise.

Impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Potential impacts of climate change on genetic diversity are little understood, though it is thought that genetic diversity will increase the resilience of species to climate change.

Modelling studies on the potential impact of climate change on species indicates poleward shifts and changes in altitude, range expansions or contractions corroborating the .

Impacts of climate change on biodiversity
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