A changing climate has implications on biodiversity without any doubt. Species in the past have been sensitive to changes in the climate; that has been proved time and again by the fossilized remains and pollen distribution studies. It has been seen or can be concluded safely that climate changes have led to extinction of species in one area and colonization in another.
It is improbable that all species can or will be able to adapt to changing conditions specially the sudden changes. This leads to impact in ecosystem dynamics and also on community composition.
The changes in climate have already produced huge and significant impact on the biosphere. The impacts can range from mass relocation to timing of biological behavior and many more. The evolution and adaptation of species to suit the climate changes could happen due to evolution, but the rate with the current scenario is changing, most species are not able to adapt themselves with time.
Mentioned below are some cases or examples that clearly show how the changing climate is affecting the biodiversity.
1. Migratory birds:
Migratory birds particularly the long-distance migratory birds are known to be very sensitive to climate changes. The annual migratory cycle these birds have is extremely dependent on environmental conditions. Studies have revealed that the birds seem to change or alter their behavior owing to changes in temperature. Not only have their time and route of migration changed due to warm air currents and their erratic courses, but this has also been hugely affected by the sea conditions and its effect on its their prey i.e; the phytoplankton and the zooplanktons.
Corals are not only fascinating underwater life, but they are also one of the best indicators of ocean health. They also are one of the largest houses for a diverse ecosystem underwater. It is a common knowledge that the Great Barrier Reef is endangered and also similar coral reefs around the world are at the verge of near extinction. The Caribbean species of elkhorn and staghorn corals have been literally wiped off due to the change in sea temperature and its acidity. Once corals die, algae takes over the reef, and this leads to change in the fish and fauna associated.
3. Polar trouble:
The permafrost is melting in the Polar Regions. This is a known fact and satellite pictures have also confirmed this. The melting of permafrost is credited mostly to the global warming. This is having a huge effect on the polar bears and the penguins as a whole. The whole ecology of the poles seems to be at stake.
Polar bear is one of the key factors in polar ecosystem. Their numbers are on the decline as their dens are collapsing due to permafrost melting.
At the other pole the penguins are also having a tough time as the warming and acidic sea is having a huge change in fish population in their area. Many of these penguins are also decreasing in number at an alarming rate. Fishes that follow the cold and warm water currents also seem to get lost due to the erratic behavior of the oceans. This also is having a negative impact on the predator fishes as well.
4. Some mammalian observations:
Many mammals particularly the small ones are dependent on climate and temperature for effective and proper breeding. But the drastic changes in climate particularly the rain amount and time has been playing havoc on these animals. Most animals have been seen to have confusing mating time. Moreover the rain that brings in fresh vegetation and greenery, which again controls the food web has been erratic and does not follow cycle. This has complicated the whole food web and survival of the offsprings.
Moreover around the world it has been seen that flood and drought has been responsible for huge migration of animals and wild animals invading human habitation in search of food.
5. Plant issues:
Changing temperatures, eccentric rainfall is having its toll on the plant life as well. Most plants dry out or rot in case there is no rain or heavy rain. Most importantly the insects and birds responsible for pollination are also diminishing in number or migrating due to climate changes. This leads to a huge problem of reproduction in plants, and many are decreasing in number in specific areas. Some plant life that are entire dependent on rainfall or dry weather are unable to sustain these sudden changes and may be extinct by the end of another decade.
It is not that changing weather affects biodiversity, but its also the other way round too. Humans have been one of the major reasons for all this to happen. But still there is lot of time, proper care and steps can help evade the catastrophe that seems to loom in future.
*About The Author: Brianne is a writer/blogger. She loves writing travelling and reading books. She contributes in Regal Cigs. Her contribution can be also found here Regal Cigs