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Report shows global warming threats to Mediterranean

‘We all need to act and there is no time to lose’

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The Ionian Sea near Ksamil, Albania. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — There’s no reason to believe that any of the world’s oceans will be spared the effects of global warming and ocean acidification, including the Mediterranean Sea, where rapid changes threaten numerous species and entire ecosystems, according to a new report from a team of European researchers.

“We knew next to nothing about the combined effects of warming and acidification in the Mediterranean until this study, now we know that they are a serious double threat to our marine ecosystems,” said project coordinator Patrizia Ziveri, from Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

“Iconic Mediterranean ecosystems such as sea grass meadows, the colourful Coralligene reefs and Vermetid snail reefs are threatened and now facing rapid decline through acidification and warming. These are amazing ecosystem building species, creating homes for thousands of species, and also serve to protect shores from erosion, offer a source of food and natural products to society” said Prof. Maoz Fine, with Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

“Subsea volcanic activity spews carbon dioxide into the seawater making the waters more acidic and an amazing natural laboratory, showing how a future Mediterranean Sea may look like. Unfortunately this window into a high CO2 sea shows us that life will become difficult for some species, invasive species may do well, biodiversity will decrease and some species will become extinct” said Prof Jason Hall-Spencer from University of Plymouth.

“It is clear that to save these amazing ecosystems human society worldwide must reduce fossil fuel emissions. It is not just someone else’s coasts that will be impacted but all our seas and coasts,” said James Orr, with the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l`Environement. “We all need to act and there is no time to lose.”

 

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