14 Aug 2020 - Temperature and CO2 changes reduce the numbers of some species and promote the growth of algae, University of Adelaide study finds
Heating of the world’s oceans could radically reorganise marine food webs across the globe causing the numbers of some species to collapse while promoting the growth of algae, new research has warned.
Healthy marine food webs that look like a pyramid, with smaller numbers of larger predatory species at the top and more abundant smaller organisms at the bottom, could become “bottom heavy”.
The types of species that could become less abundant in the oceans are the same ones targeted by commercial fishing and also are socially and culturally important to many communities around the globe.
In the research, published in the journal Science, researchers at the University of Adelaide recreated a marine habitat in a series of 1,800-litre tanks and then subjected some to temperature and CO2 changes.
Prof Ivan Nagelkerken, of the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and who led the research, said gazing into the tanks after six months when the study period ended had not been a pretty sight.