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Biological Impacts of Climate Change

Essay by   •  April 1, 2017  •  Article Review  •  1,084 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,002 Views

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Title: Biological Impacts of Climate Change

John P McCarty is the Direct of Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. His research work has ranged from ecology to the behavior and evolution of birds. L. LaReesa Wolfenbarger is an Associate professor of Biology at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She focuses her studies on ecological factors influencing grassland habitats. James A Wilson also works at the University of Nebraska Omaha and is an associate professor who has research interests in physiological ecology.

Researches utilized some of their original work as well as meta-analysis where they combined the ideas from other studied. These researchers purposed, based on previous investigation and knowledge, that biological systems are affected by environmental changes. The main purpose of this journal article to actually exhibit how and why these changes affect such systems. More specifically, they observed increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and its impact on a variety of aspects.

Scientists begin their research on the general topic of life which subdivides into impacts on individuals, populations, and animal interaction. These scientists focused their studies on the differing levels of carbon dioxide and the effects that will occur because of them. In order to do so, they set up a pipe system that surrounded growing trees that would release carbon dioxide at levels that mimic expected future atmospheric levels. The experiment took place in a field outside where natural interactions were able to take place in order to eliminate other environmental variables.

They also provided another example for measuring and predicting influences of climate change. Within the article, mathematical mapping models were mentioned. In these models, geographical ranges of forests are mapped out based upon the current climate. In the example provided in Figure 3, they compared normal climate and forest maps with two different environmental scenarios. One scenario involves low emission of greenhouse gases while the other mimics the effects of high emission on forests.

Researchers also tested for changes due to temperature and precipitation patterns. The set up for temperature change included setting up direct warming fixtures that increased amount of heat geared towards the trees. Furthermore, they set up shelters in marshes to alter precipitation to observe nutrient cycling. Lastly, researchers combined excess heat and increased carbon dioxide levels to examine the effects simultaneously.

Their results are more based on their previous research. No official results of their own experiments have been provided. However, the researchers to provide information regarding carbon dioxide impacts on a wide range of biological processes. To begin, photosynthesis by plants is significantly impacted when there are heightened levels of CO2. Rates of this process can also increase with the upsurge exposure of gas; however, the rates still are dependent on other resources such as water and nutrient availability. Moreover, the increase in CO2 concentrations also affect insects that live and feed on trees, thus altering the competitive balance. Nutrient levels are also affected by increased greenhouse gas concentration. The amount of nutrients, or lack there of, also implicates the animals who eat the plants. For instance, in Australia, plants who are in direct exposure to higher levels of carbon dioxide are deficient in nitrogen. Ocean acidification is also a direct effect of carbon dioxide levels on the rise. Oceans are becoming more acidic where marine organisms are sensitive to pH change. The destruction of coral reefs is just one negative impact from ocean acidification and carbon dioxide increase.

Other impacts of climate change range from evolution to extinction. Variations in climate affect the way animals behave and interact with one another. Physiological processes can determine tolerance to climate change, or even change with climate change. Evolution will change according to how well animals adapt to the selective pressures of climate change. On the other hand, extinction will occur if animals cannot adapt to these environmental changes.

Climate change is such an important topic because of its relevancy to our everyday lives. Although we may not realize it, climate and climate change, do impact us. Climate change is constantly being brought up in the world whether it be through politics, science class, or social conversations in general. It is an imperative recurring topic because it affects every biological aspect of the world. For one it affects animals and their chance of survival and reproduction. Animals, humans included, respond to climate trends in different ways. It also is effecting the habitats of certain animals. For instance, the colder habitats where ice glaciers are now melting and in consequence impacts animals that rely on ice for shelter. In effect from ice melting at relatively high rates, ocean and water levels are rising in response. This can affect other habitats, animals, as well as us as humans. This topic to me is important because of its pertinence in my life. I am affected by climate change, as well as some of my favorite animals, like the polar bear. I know for myself if polar bears go extinct due to climate change, I will be extremely upset simply because they have been my favorite animal since I received my first stuffed animal. It’s the little things like a childhood memory, all the way up to the actual extinction of an animal. Both are traumatic. In application of this article, biologists must work together in order to prevent such phenomons from occurring. They are preventable, we must find a solution. As biologists do, society also must work together to prevent climate change. Changing small parts of our daily routines can make an immense impact on the cause.

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