Hinterland Green

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Study: Warmer Sea Temperatures Whet Krill Appetite, Put World's Seafood Supply at Risk

The warming oceans are causing a rise in appetites among marine life and has highlighted the risks climate change has on the world's seafood supply. According to a study published by the Public Library of Science, the milder water temperatures increase the importance of zooplankton, including krill which is eaten by whales and has put undue pressure on phytoplankton that will be less plentiful as the seas grow warmer.

Research has shown that humans rely on marine ecosystems for 16 percent of their animal protein consumption.  The study states that increased temperatures of up to four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) have already happened in some of the world’s seas; climate models predict that sea temperatures may increase a further seven degrees over the next 100 years. The study has also said that rising consumption by larger marine animals of smaller plankton will result in a loss of biomass even with increased production with higher temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said the world’s ocean surface temperature in June rose to 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), the warmest since 1880, topping the record set in 2005.

Photo credit:  Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba) Green Warriors of Norway
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