Researchers at CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship revealed more effort should be given to research into the effects climate change is having on ocean environments. Dr Anthony Richardson, from The University of Queensland and CSIRO, and his co-author, Dr Elvira Poloczanska from CSIRO in Hobart, informed that marine ecosystems are undoubtedly under-resourced, overlooked and under threat and our collective knowledge of impacts on marine life is a mere drop in the ocean.
They also said that there is an overwhelming bias toward land-surface studies which arise in part because investigating the ocean realm is generally difficult, resource-intensive and expensive. In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment Report (2007) the disparity in focus on land-based compared to marine impacts was highlighted. The paper advocate change in the existing IPCC process to better assess the impacts.
Dr Poloczanska said that climate change is affecting ocean temperatures, the supply of nutrients from the land, ocean chemistry, food chains, shifts in wind systems, ocean currents and extreme events such as cyclones. He added that all of these in turn affect the distribution, abundance, breeding cycles and migrations of marine plants and animals, which millions of people rely on for food and income.
According to Dr Richardson the situation is made more urgent as emerging evidence suggests marine organisms may be responding faster to climate change than land-based plants and animals. He opined that to understand the impacts of climate change in the oceans we need to develop adaptation options as the knowledge-base expands.