Warming oceans causing marine species to migrate towards North Pole

Washington, Aug 5 (ANI): Counter to previous thinking, marine species are shifting their geographic distribution towards the poles at a rate much faster than their land-based counterparts, a new study has found.

The three-year study, conducted by a working group of UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and funded by the National Science Foundation, shows that warming oceans are causing marine species to change breeding, feeding, and migration timing as well as shift where they live.

Widespread systemic shifts in measures such as distribution of species and phenology - the timing of nature's calendar - are on a scale comparable to or greater than those observed on land.

"The leading edge or front-line of marine species distributions is moving toward the poles at an average of 72 kilometers (about 45 miles) per decade - considerably faster than terrestrial species, which are moving poleward at an average of 6 kilometers (about 4 miles) per decade," lead author Elvira Poloczanska, a research scientist with Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Marine and Atmospheric Research in Brisbane, said.

"And this is occurring even though sea surface temperatures are warming three times slower than land temperatures," the researcher said.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Climate Change. (ANI)

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