Rising Temperatures, Acidification Threaten Mediterranean Sea Species
Water temperatures in the northwest of the Mediterranean are increasing much faster than the global average, which threatens the survival of many species, French researchers said.
Weekly readings of water temperature by researchers at Villefranche sur Mer Oceanographic Laboratory have shown that surface temperatures of the Mediterranean water increased by 0.7 degrees between 2007 and 2015.
Researchers, who believe their results apply to an area that includes Spain, France and Italy have also said in a note that summarizes their study that water acidity increased by almost 7 percent.
“Acidification and water temperature is due to carbon dioxide emissions from human activities,” French researcher CNRS Jean-Pierre Gattuso told Reuters.
He added that almost a quarter of mankind’s carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans, making the water more acidic.
Gattuso said that plankton tends to migrate northwards in order to maintain an optimal temperature, but this is not possible in the Mediterranean, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the narrow straits of Gibraltar.
“It’s a dead end here, so the species can disappear,” Gattuso said, noting a special threat to the marshy Posidonia prairies marshy, known as the tapeweed name in the Mediterranean, which produces oxygen and provides important fish habitat.
He said that at the same time, more grouper and barracuda were observed in the Mediterranean, as it became more like a subtropical sea.
Gattuso said acidification turns into a problem in some decades to marine organisms that have a skeleton or calcium shell, such as oysters, shellfish, snails and corals.