Global warming hits sea animals hardest

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GLOBAL WARMING has caused twice as many ocean-dwelling species as land-dwelling species to disappear from their habitats, a unique Rutgers-led study found. The greater vulnerability of sea creatures may significantly impact human communities that rely on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

The study is the first to compare cold-blooded marine and land species’ sensitivity to warming and their ability to find refuge from the heat while staying in their normal habitats. The authors combed through worldwide research on nearly 400 species from lizards and fish to spiders. They calculated safe conditions for 88 marine and 294 land species as well as the coolest temperatures available to each species during the hottest parts of the year.

“We find that, globally, marine species are being eliminated from their habitats by warming temperatures twice as often as land species,” said lead author Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University- New Brunswick.