Global Warming Changing Features of Genes

Global Warming Changing Features of GenesGlobal Warming Changing Features of Genes

Global climate change has already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, according to a new study in Science.

“We now have evidence that, with only a 1 degree Celsius of warming globally, major impacts are already being felt in natural systems,” says study lead author, Brett Scheffers, an assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, Futurity.org reported.

“Genes are changing, species’ physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are shifting their ranges and we see clear signs of entire ecosystems under stress, all in response to changes in climate on land and in the ocean.”

Scheffers and researchers from 10 countries found that more than 80% of ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of responses to climate change.

“Some people didn’t expect this level of change for decades,” says co-author James Watson of the University of Queensland. “The impacts of climate change are being felt with no ecosystem on Earth being spared.”

Many of the impacts on species and ecosystems affect people, according to the authors, with consequences ranging from increased pests and disease outbreaks, unpredictable changes in fisheries and decline in agriculture yields.

“Current global climate change agreements aim to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” says Wendy Foden, co-author and chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Climate Change Specialist Group. “We’re showing that there are already broad and serious impacts from climate change right across biological systems.”

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints