'Game changer': New vulnerability to climate change in ocean food chain

“Ultimately our study reveals the possibility of a ‘feedback mechanism’ operating in parts of the ocean where iron already constrains the growth of phytoplankton,”said Jeff McQuaid, lead author of the study who made the discoveries as a PhD student at Scripps Oceanography. “In these regions, high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 could decrease phytoplankton growth, restricting the ability of the ocean to absorb CO2 and thus leading to ever higher concentrations of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere.” Phytoplankton off New York. The micro-organisms help remove carbon dioxide from the ocean. Photo: NASA Andrew E. Allen, a biologist at Scripps and JCVI and the paper's senior author, said that while the genetics of common animals such as rats or rabbits was well known, the same was not true of marine microbes that play important roles in the global food chain. The researchers inserted a mutated copy of a gene into phytoplankton cells...
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Half of All Wildlife Could Disappear from the Amazon, Galapagos and Madagascar Due to Climate Change

As much as half of wildlife and 60% of plants in the world’s richest forests could be at risk of extinction in the next century if stronger efforts aren’t taken to combat climate change, according to a new report on the risks of rising global temperatures. The landmark study was conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, University of East Anglia, and the James Cook University, and published on Tuesday in the journal Climatic Change. It warns that rising temperatures and associated phenomena, including extreme storms, erratic rainfall patterns, and prolonged droughts, could have disastrous effects on some of the world’s most biodiverse areas, including the Amazon river basin, Galapagos islands, southwestern Australia, and coasts of Europe and the Caribbean. “Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,” said Nikhil Advani, lead climate specialist...
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Global warming puts nearly half of species in key places at risk: report

Story highlights Animals like tigers and elephants are at risk due to climate change, study findsUnique places like the Amazon and Madagascar are at serious risk "Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects," said Nikhil Advani, lead specialist for climate, communities and wildlife at the World Wildlife Fund in London (WWF). The report, a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and the WWF, found that nearly 80,000 plants and animals in 35 diverse and wildlife-rich areas -- including the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos islands, southwest Australia and Madagascar -- could become extinct if global temperatures rise. The 35 places were chosen based on their "uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there," the WWF said. "The collected results reveal some striking trends. They add powerful...
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Microplastic pollution in oceans is far worse than feared, say scientists

The number of tiny plastic pieces polluting the world’s oceans is vastly greater than thought, new research indicates. The work reveals the highest microplastic pollution yet discovered anywhere in the world in a river near Manchester in the UK. It also shows that the major floods in the area in 2015-16 flushed more than 40bn pieces of microplastic into the sea. The surge of such a vast amount of microplastic from one small river catchment in a single event led the scientists to conclude that the current estimate for the number of particles in the ocean – five trillion – is a major underestimate. Microplastics include broken-down plastic waste, synthetic fibres and beads found in personal hygiene products. They are known to harm marine life, which mistake them for food, and can be consumed by humans too via seafood, tap water or other food . The risk to people is...
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