TECH
13/10/2015 16:03 BST | Updated 13/10/2015 16:59 BST

World's Entire Marine Ecosystem Under Threat From Climate Change Study Says

A new global study has shown that marine food chains across the world could collapse because of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Diversity and abundance of species could reduce as oceans absorb more carbon dioxide a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) stated.

This is the first time the effect of climate change on marine ecosystems has been quantified to such an extent by a worldwide study.

marine life

Food chains are the basic unit of ecosystems and the two main factors that will alter marine food chains include rising temperatures and ocean acidification, due to increased carbon absorption.

Ivan Nagelkerken and Sean D. Connell arrived at this conclusion after analysing 632 published experiments.

Outlining how each level of the food chain will be effected they reported that at the primary level the smallest plankton will increase.

However, at the next level of the food chain, warmer temperatures cause the metabolic rate of carnivores to increase which means that at some point there will not be enough prey to feed predators.

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“There is more food for small herbivores, such as fish, sea snails and shrimps, but because the warming has driven up metabolism rates the growth rate of these animals is decreasing,” said associate professor Ivan Nagelkerken of Adelaide University.

He told the Guardian: “As there is less prey available, that means fewer opportunities for carnivores. There’s a cascading effect up the food chain.

Putting these findings in context of how human life will be affected, the study stated:

"The future simplification of our oceans has profound consequences for our current way of life, particularly for coastal populations and those that rely on oceans for food and trade."