A groundbreaking study published today reveals a critical but understudied cause of changing ocean and coastal salinity due to climate change. The study was co-authored by an international team of researchers, including Dr. Cliff Ross, University of North Florida biology chair/professor, and Dr. Stacey Trevathan-Tackett, UNF biology graduate program alum and research faculty member at Deakin University in Australia.
Changes in salinity, or salt content, due to climate change and land use may have potentially damaging effects on important coastal and estuarine ecosystems, but they are rarely studied. until now. This new research provides valuable insight into the threats posed by anthropogenic salinity changes to marine and coastal ecosystems and outlines the consequences for the health and economy of local communities in typically densely populated regions.
The research team looked at how climate change changes in rainfall as well as local man-made impacts can lead to extreme flooding and drought events, affecting on the availability of fresh water and affect the salinity of sensitive ecosystems. As sea levels rise, the flow of salt water to coastal and low-lying areas can also cause harmful effects. Certain groups such as microorganisms, plankton, coral, mangroves, tidal marshes, macroalgae and seagrass are the most endangered and can easily face ecosystem collapse.
Researchers warn that changes in salinity are predicted to accelerate with ocean warming, and they stress the urgency of responding quickly to salinity challenges to protect marine and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity.
“Human-induced changes in salinity affect marine organisms and ecosystems” published in Biology of Climate Change.
Until Röthig et al, human salinity changes affect marine organisms and ecosystems, Biology of Climate Change (2023). DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16859
Provided by the University of North Florida
Citation: Salinity changes threatening marine ecosystems, new study shows (2023, July 13) retrieved 13 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-salinity-threatening-marine- ecosystems.html
This document is subject to copyright. Except for any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Content is provided for informational purposes only.