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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Climate Change & Ecosystems

Climate Change & Ecosystems

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, November 14, 2016/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change

Illustration of climate change impacts on ecological processes in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems as measured on processes at different levels of organization within ecosystems. In total, 82% of 94 ecological processes show evidence of effects from climate change. Within levels of organization, the percentage of impacted processes varies from 60% (genetics) to 100% (species distribution).    (credit: Science Magazine)

While other events have been distracting attention recently, impacts from climate change continue being revealed. Research by ecologists and conservation biologists at the University's of Florida and Hong Kong has now shown just how much. Their "footprint" calculations of impacts on ecological processes published in Science Magazine, now show some impact on all the Earth's ecosystems. Their research has shown that "a total of 94 ecological processes evaluated, 82% showed evidence of impact from climate change." 

In commenting to Science, Brett Scheffers at the University of Florida, said:

"We now have evidence that, with only a ~1 degree Celsius of warming globally, major impacts are already being felt in natural systems. Genes are changing, species' physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are moving, and we see clear signs of entire ecosystems under stress, all in response to changes in climate on land and in the ocean".

We've followed impacts to trees, coral reefs, glacial ice, and various plant/animal species from cllimate alterations happening to their terrestrial, marine, and polar or mountain environments. The new research continues adding evidence on the dramatic biological changes now underway. It also shows how inadequate our responses to sustaining them have been so far. Ecological restoration could easily be one our biggest challenges but also a great opportunity if we were paying more attention. A college biology teacher presents a restoration perspective to a group of high school students and touches on many points for productive collaboration, sustainability training, and hopeful environmental results.

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