After analyzing the ecosystems within tidal pools and shallow waters along the West Coast, a group of researchers have revealed that some species are more vulnerable to climate change than they appear.
The latest research was published in Ecology Letters. In the paper, scientists revealed that seaweed and mussel beds essentially offer air conditioning to the communities of different species. As a result, several species in the area might have experienced heat stress. While evaluations might suggest that these species are resilient to climate change, the research revealed that these species are protected by the tidal pools and waters which provided them much needed protection.
Talking about the latest research, Laura Jurgens said, “We might take for granted some of the resilience of our ecosystems because we don’t realize how much they depend on these habitats.”
“You can tolerate a lot of what goes on outside if you have air conditioning. But if you’re looking at a future with more intense heat waves, and you don’t have air conditioning anymore, you wonder, ‘Where can I go?’ For these species, they could make a big move north, but it won’t help — they still need these habitats to keep the heat in a tolerable range.”
“If you’re an octopus living in a mussel bed, the most important thing to keep your body temperature survivable is that mussel bed around you, not whether you live in Southern California, where it’s warmer, or Washington.”