Tropical Oceans Hardest Hit in Global Biodiversity Crisis

(CN) – Numerous reports have painted a grim picture for habitats across the globe due to climate change. Not only is there a crisis, there is a dramatic shift in our ecosystems according to research released Thursday.

Deep sea coral and fish [photo credit: Papahanaumokuakea National Monument]
The study published in the journal Science says there is a rapid reorganization of the biodiversity of species in tropical ocean habitats, hotspots of species richness loss.

The report from researchers Brita Eriksson and Helmut Hillebrand in a related perspective, shows the results of more than 200 studies, exploring biodiversity on a global scale.

In simplest terms, biodiversity is the makeup of different plants and animals in a habitat or ecosystem. Through numerous chain reactions, these species benefit one another by creating a rich ecosystem.

Projections on biodiversity on a global scale are often at odds with trends at local levels, which could mean biodiversity is built on geographic foundations, according to the study’s authors.

In a separate research paper, Shane Blowes from the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research, and his colleagues mapped trends in the richness and makeup of biodiversity across marine, land and freshwater habitats using a worldwide database. They did not identify an overall trend of global species loss, but found instead that the composition of local species is rapidly being recognized on a global scale.

This can have severe consequences that are still unknown. Our understanding of biodiversity loss – along with our understanding of how to preserve ecosystems – needs to be conditional on the area and context, according to the study authors.

The study highlights a crisis at least for now that isn’t necessarily about decline, but about large-scale reorganization.

“When biodiversity is in the news these days, it is often because the Amazon is on fire, or there is a global mass mortality event in coral reefs, and rightly so, because these are terrifying news,” said author Maria Dornelas from the University of St. Andrews. “However, there is a lot of recovery also taking place silently in the background, and many places where not much is happening.”

How biodiversity changes occur is key to conservation efforts and moreover the need for monitoring these shifts is critical if there is going to be future strategies for conservation efforts, according to the study authors.

%d bloggers like this: