A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications by the University of East Anglia and the Earlham Institute found that global warming, already expanding the warm hemisphere, is likely to promote algal bloom and alter algal communities that are vital to maintaining global marine health Meaning are.
According to to learn this happens due to the shifting of the boundaries of the “breakpoints” of biological diversity. These “breakpoints” describe areas in which the temperature of the upper ocean is around 15 degrees on average and separates cold and warm water. Instead of gradually changing microbial diversity due to ocean warming, we will see more algal blooms and abrupt changes at the “breakpoints,” the study said.
Prof. Thomas Mock of the UEA School of Environmental Sciences said, “Algae are important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem to balance marine life. By absorbing energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water, they produce organic compounds that marine life can thrive on. These organisms underpin some of the largest food webs on earth and power global biogeochemical cycles.
“The temperature changes, which are responsible for at least 20 percent of the annual global carbon fixation, could have a significant impact on the algae on which our marine systems, fisheries and ocean biodiversity depend. We wanted to better understand how the climate crisis is affecting algae from the Arctic to the Antarctic worldwide. “
The study was carried out by an international team of 32 researchers for more than 10 years and included the first pole-to-pole analysis of the distribution of algae in the oceans. Another important pillar of the research was the investigation of how the gene activity of the algae changes due to environmental changes in the upper ocean zones.
Prof. Mock said, “Significant international efforts have provided insight into the causes of the diversity of these organisms and their global biogeography in the global ocean, pole to pole.
“Our results provide new insights into how changing environmental conditions correlate with changes in biodiversity, which are subject to large environmental fluctuations and disturbances. This knowledge is essential for predicting the consequences of global warming and can therefore guide environmental management.
“We can assume that the marine systems around the UK and other countries at this latitude will be severely affected, and more suddenly than previously thought. The greatest change in the ecosystem will come when marine microalgal communities and their associated bacteria in the UK are replaced by their warm water counterparts. “
Because microalgae form such an important part of the food chain, major changes are to be expected in the remaining marine ecosystems, which could have an impact on marine conservation and fisheries. On the other hand, the shift in microalgae communities could make the algae ‘s ability to absorb carbon dioxide less effective, which in turn could exacerbate global warming.
The researchers claimed that this is not yet irreversible – if countries and governments work quickly and efficiently to prevent global warming now.
For the full study ‘The biogeographical differentiation of algae microbiomes in the upper ocean from pole to pole ‘, Click here.
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Photography courtesy of Unsplash.