In hot water: Climate change harms hot spots of ocean life

February 22, 2017 by Seth Borenstein
In this Aug. 27, 2015 file photo, a Penguin runs out of the ocean after swimming with other penguins at Boulders beach a popular tourist destination in Simon's Town, South Africa. The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also among those getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds. It's sort of like the targeting of the world's natural underwater super-zoos. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)

The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds.

An international team looked at more than 2,100 species of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even tiny plankton to calculate Earth's of marine biodiversity.

These underwater super-zoos are in patches of ocean that are overfished and warming fast, and these pressures hurt the lush life there, according to a study appearing in Wednesday's journal Science Advances.

"In those hot spots, the changes are already happening," says study co-author Andre Chiaradia, a senior scientist and penguin expert at the Phillip Island Nature Parks in Australia. "They are the most at risk."

Several outside marine and climate scientists praised the work, saying it showed the importance of protecting these areas and reducing fishing.

"Biodiversity and fisheries are humanity's legacy" that should be preserved, marine ecologist Maria Vernet of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said in an email. She wasn't part of the research.

While scientists in the past have identified key areas of biodiversity, the new work is more detailed. Researchers found the liveliest ocean hot spot also happens to be where the science of evolution sprouted: the Pacific Ocean off the central South American coast. It includes the area around the Galapagos Islands and goes back to "our good friend (Charles) Darwin. When he went there, he got amazed," Chiaradia said.

In this Jan. 7, 2009 file photo, pelicans float in the bay of Puerto Ayora, Galapagos. The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also among those getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds. It's sort of like the targeting of the world's natural underwater super-zoos. (AP Photo/Kirsten Johnson, File)

Other hot spots include the southwestern Atlantic Ocean off Argentina; the western Indian Ocean off the African coast; the central western Pacific Ocean surrounding Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; the southwestern Pacific off Australia's southern and eastern coast; and the Oceania region of the Pacific around the international date line. Four of the six hot spots are in the Pacific; all are either in the southern hemisphere or just north of the equator.

"What makes this biodiversity? It's the isolation," Chiardia said. "On land, we have kangaroos and weird animals like the platypus. And in the ocean it's not different."

The ocean is home to Australian sea dragons, a fish related to the seahorse that resemble mythical dragons and sometimes even have yellow and purple markings on their bodies.

These hot spots also tend to be places where the waters churn more, Chiardia said.

Penguins, which are near the top of the food chain, are a good example of the impact of changing water temperatures and currents. Warm El Nino waters have decimated Galapagos penguins and the population of southern African penguins has dropped by about 90 percent in just 20 years, Chiardia said.

Global distribution of marine biodiversity. Colors denote the number of species, with red colors indicating areas with the highest biodiversity. Credit: F. Ramírez, I. Afán, L. S. Davis and A. Chiaradia

Explore further: New study reveals what penguins eat

More information: "Climate impacts on global hot spots of marine biodiversity," Science Advances, advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/2/e1601198

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Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2017
Climate change harms hot spots of ocean life


Never does climate NOT change. AGW is a fraud foisted upon mankind by those who wish to control the means of production; greens and reds but that is redundant.
howhot3
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2017
@Shootlist, when will you ever learn the lesson of nature's beat down on fools like you. There is no falsification of climate change. Climate is real, and will proceed to be as intense and violent as we make it with our pollution. CO2 is already over 400ppm and you deniers expect what?
FactsReallyMatter
1 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2017
There is no accurate long term ocean data upon which to draw this conclusion. The AGW cult has been looking for the missing heat in the oceans for years, haven't found it yet.

But I love this part
....when we overlapped these hot spots with available industrial fishery data, albeit coarser than our estimates of climate impacts, they suggest a worrying coincidence ...


So, they've got shitty data on fisheries, coupled with model prediction. Yah, I am sure that their conclusions are accurate as well. GIGO.
howhot3
1 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2017
There is no accurate long term ocean data upon which to draw this conclusion. The AGW cult has been looking for the missing heat in the oceans for years, haven't found it yet.

More BullShi from the Evil Denier cult. For example if you need a simple graph, and most deniers goons do need it simple; here is a graph from your beloved EPA showing AGW and it's direct impact on Sea temperatures.

https://www.epa.g...perature

So bottom line is your a liar!

FactsReallyMatter
1 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2017
Drunken sailors making measurements are not so accurate.
Regardless:

Hoffman et al. compiled estimates of sea surface temperatures during the last interglacial period, which lasted from about 129,000 to 116,000 years ago. The global mean annual values were ~0.5°C warmer than they were 150 years ago and indistinguishable from the 1995–2014 mean. This is a sobering point, because sea levels during the last interglacial period were 6 to 9 m higher than they are now.


http://science.sc...6322/276

I don't expect hothead to understand, but others will.
howhot3
3 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2017
Oh, I do understand Mr. FactsReallyMatters (oxymoron). Hoffman et al. say that the sea surface temp from the interglacial period ~129-116,000 years ago were about where we are today. Is that what you mean goon face?
antigoracle
3 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2017
Ever notice how it's always, globull warming and this, globull warming and that.
Globull warming is like the ultimate bad kid that parents blame for spoiling theirs. It's never their kid's fault.
humy
3 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2017
Climate change harms hot spots of ocean life


Never does climate NOT change.

Shootist

which is totally irrelevant to us creating an unnatural harmful climate change, moron.
+ nobody CLAIMS that man is the only cause of climate change (your stupid obviously false implied straw man)

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