Animals begin to shrink in size due to global warming


18/10/2011

The increase in global temperatures over the last century as a result of climate change caused by human activity, was the reason that many creatures have been noticeably reduced in size, since a number of changes in their habitat, as well as the direct impact of global warming, as reported researchers.

If all living things in nature decreased with the same measure, then there would be little reason for concern. Fish were fed to smaller plants, and shark fed to correspondingly more small fish, for example. However, the response of organisms to climate change manifests itself not to the same extent, reduce occur with different rates, putting so under the threat of extinction of some species, according to the information Jennifer Sheridan (Jennifer Sheridan) and David Bickford (David Bickford), researchers from the National University of Singapore.

This is not a new phenomenon, for all past periods of natural global warming, beetles, bees, spiders, algae called diatoms, small squirrels and wood mice decreased in size, according to some resources. For example, the burrows of invertebrates, including beetles, bees, spiders, made about 56 million years ago, shows that there are less than 50-75 per cent, as the researchers reported in the analysis, published in the October issue of the journal "Nature Climate Change".

In the modern period, as scientists assume, size reduction will occur indirectly. For example, the increased acidity in the ocean - caused by the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - prevents the development of shells or skeletons out of calcium carbonate of some organisms (eg, corals, scallops and oysters). Oxidation also reduces the growth of phytoplankton, small plants that float in the ocean, and this affects the food chain that depend on them.

As previously assumed that plants will absorb the excess carbon dioxide produced by man into the atmosphere as they use it to create sugars during photosynthesis. However, everything turned out differently in the last century. The growth and development of plants are highly dependent on water, and climate models predict the next decades a significant change in rainfall in many areas. This means an increase of dry periods in humid regions, which finally leads to a reduction in plant growth, under the assumptions of researchers.

Cold-blooded animals - the predominant type of animals on Earth - is affected by temperature changes directly, since it increases the performance of their metabolic processes. This means that they will need more food to maintain their body size or ... become smaller. Temperature also affects the more rapid development of cold-blooded creatures, so the animals reach maturity, while still a small scale.

As for warm-blooded animals, the scientists found that the cooler climate means a large body size, because larger animals are better able to maintain their body heat, and there is evidence that the size of the animals is reduced in warmer areas. People change the size of living organisms can have a direct impact associated with the provision of these types of food, such as crops and fisheries.

Original: LiveScience Translation: M. Potter


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