Researchers have found that larger marine invertebrates are more likely to go extinct due to ongoing environmental changes than the smaller invertebrates.
In a recently published paper in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. researchers pointed out how the oxygen levels are declining over last few years in marine ecosystems around the world. They claimed that the amount of oxygen in ocean has already gone down by two to five percent since the middle of last century. According to the researchers, ongoing changes have already affected the distribution of marine species that has adversely impacted the ecosystem.
In order to find out reduced amount of oxygen in marine ecosystems, the researchers carried out a several experiments in labs. The results showed that larger body size requires higher oxygen intake. As oxygen levels have gone down during the experiments, larger bodies couldn’t function in such environment. However, the researchers claimed that some larger body species might be better suited for faster adaptation compared to their smaller counterparts.
In the accompanying news release, John Spicer, professor of marine zoology at the University of Plymouth said that unless these larger species shrink in size, they face extinction going forward. This will ultimately impact the ecosystems as food chain will be ultimately disrupted in their native areas.
Simon Morley, an ecophysiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, said, “Marine animals thrive in the Southern Ocean but life in these freezing waters has led to the evolution of many distinct characteristics. These ‘strategies,’ which allow animals to survive in the cold, are expected to make many Antarctic marine invertebrates and fish vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Understanding these impacts will not only help us to predict the fate of marine biodiversity at the poles but will also teach us much about the mechanisms that will determine the survival of species across the world’s oceans.”