A newly published research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill claimed that most marine life in marine protected areas would not be able to endure the warming oceans. The research suggested that as the temperatures of the oceans are increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions, the marine life even in the protected areas won’t be able to withstand these. The marine protected areas are considered as heaven species like polar bears, penguins and coral reefs. These are also restricted from activities like fishing, mineral and oil extraction. The research claimed that if the greenhouse emissions take place in as such then these areas will suffer from warming and reduced oxygen concentration. By 2100, these marine protected areas will become uninhabitable by most species currently residing in those areas.
The study is mainly focused on understanding the effects under “business as usual scenario” and predicts that the marine protected areas will achieve 2.8 degrees Celsius (or 5 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in the temperatures by 2100. It further explained that extreme warming and rising of temperatures would disrupt the ecological balance in marine protected areas and would offer a devastating impact on the species residing there. The study further predicted that there would also be some other adverse impacts like extinctions of some unique species along with the loss of biodiversity, and changes in ocean food-webs.
The study also points out some other negative impacts that would occur if the temperature increases at the same pace. The research also claimed that it rising temperatures of the ocean would have negative impacts on the productivity of fisheries, making them more prone to diseases and would also affect tourism revenue. Most of the marine species have low genetic diversity and are vulnerable to environmental change as they can’t adapt to rapidly rising temperatures.
Lead author and marine ecologist, Prof. John Bruno stated that most animal species from marine protected areas wouldn’t be able to endure warming of such magnitude and will eventually perish. He further suggested that immediately an emission reduction scenario should be adopted and fossil fuels should be replaced with cleaner energy sources like solar and wind in order to avoid further damage. Ocean scientist and researcher on the study, Rich Aronson said that a lot of discussion takes place on establishing marine reserves but actually it should figure out how to confront climate change. He further added that there is not much time left and we have to control greenhouse gas emissions.