How does global warming affect wildlife? What does any of this have to do with ecology?
Photo credit: Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
It's important to keep in mind that this change in pH is happening suddenly and quickly. Organisms can't adapt fast enough and, like in a row of dominos, everything is connected. Food webs are affected, and the consequences could reach all the way to commercial fishing and the food we like to see on the menu.
Sea levels are also rising, which will certainly effect coastal ecosystems. Remember, warmer temperatures mean more evaporation, which will lead to more precipitation and thus possibly increased flooding in some areas. Rainfall is tightly linked to the types of vegetation that can grow in an area, and thus the animals that eat that vegetation. Hibernating animals, such as marmots, wake up earlier or don't hibernate at all. Food sources for these hibernating animals aren't available during times when animals previously hibernated but are now awake, thus increasing the risk of starvation. I could give more and more examples (monarch butterflies changing their migration patterns, higher extinction rates, habitat changes for turtles, and so forth ), but I hope they're not needed.
|Snares crested penguins|
What do you think we should be doing to slow rising greenhouse gas emissions? How are different people and organizations (scientists, policy-makers, teachers, politicians, every day people, etc) responsible? What are some realistic approaches we could make to combat rising greenhouse gases?