Observe and record the behaviour of marine and coastal species
By now, you’re probably well aware of the affects of climate change on the weather, and its impact on us and the environment. But how does climate change affect marine life?
Both warmer water temperatures and increasing sea levels drive stronger ocean currents that can persist for longer periods of the year, enabling tropical species to survive in southern waters and pushing southern species further south (CSIRO Marine Report Card, 2009). Many species have already begun the move and with no more coastline after Tasmania, many southern species will disappear from our coasts all together. Altered currents may also change the productivity of our oceans, having a direct effect on the number of fish, invertebrates and marine mammals the ocean can support.
More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase the acidity of the ocean, reducing growth rates of corals and molluscs, possibly making them more susceptible to disease and altering the dynamics of food chains (CSIRO Marine Report Card, 2009).
Change in ocean currents, temperatures and increasing sea levels means our marine life will need to adapt by altering where they live, feed and when they reproduce.
“Whales (cetaceans) are the “canaries in the coal mine” that will alert us to fundamental changes in the oceans food web. They are large, easily monitored animals that provide us with an early warning system on the potential decline in ocean productivity, caused by changes in our climate.” Curt Jenner, Managing Director for the Centre for Whale Research (WA) Inc
We need to determine what effects climate change is having on our marine environment. But scientists can’t be everywhere. We need your help to observe and record on the location and behaviour of our precious marine life.