A quick update on oceans, oxygen, and fish habitat

Excerpts:

Not only does warm water hold less dissolved oxygen than cool water, it also tends to divide into layers that don’t readily mix. According to one recent study, the ocean has been losing oxygen since the mid-1980s, likely because rising temperatures have impeded circulation

 “When oxygen goes way down, it’s effectively habitat loss,” Levin says. “They might move north, they might move upslope into shallower water.” Species that can’t easily relocate, like muck-dwelling invertebrates, may perish.

The cruel corollary to deoxygenation is that warmer waters also drive up animals’ metabolic rates, forcing them to use more oxygen to breathe. As Curtis Deutsch,  a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington, puts it, “They need more, at the same time that they have less.”

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

http://e360.yale.edu/features/feeling-the-heat-warming-oceans-drive-fish-into-cooler-waters

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 “The factor that best explained variation in extinction risk was the level of future climate change. The future global extinction risk from climate change is predicted not only to increase but to accelerate as global temperatures rise (regression coefficient = 0.53; CIs, 0.46 and 0.61) (Fig. 2).”

Mark C. Urban

Accelerating extinction risk from climate change.

SCIENCE 1 MAY 2015 • VOL 348 ISSUE 6234

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“Between 1C and 2C increases in global mean temperatures most species, ecosystems and landscapes will be impacted and adaptive capacity will become limited.”

Rik Leemans and Bas Eickhout. Another reason for concern: regional and global impacts on ecosystems for different levels of climate change. Global Environmental Change 14 (2004) 219-228

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