A recent study conducted by the University of Hull highlights another grim consequence of climate change. Researchers have found that changing climatic conditions disrupt chemical communication within marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.
The researchers demonstrated that climate change affects the interactions between organisms in different types of ecosystems in similar ways. Disruptions in chemical communication can wreak havoc on a species and an ecosystem. They affect mating patterns, predator/prey systems and the animals‘ ability to find food.
“Chemical communication is the ubiquitous language of life on land – but this is being compromised by global change. There are no words to speak of life underwater, so aquatic organisms speak in chemical signals. But this perfected ‘language’ is in jeopardy,” said study co-author Dr. Patrick Fink.
In the paper, the international team of researchers demonstrates that climate change has a similar impact on communication in terrestrial and aquatic environments, even though the two environments have different stressors.
“Although a growing number of studies suggest that stressors associated with climate change have adverse effects on communication between organisms, knowledge of the underlying mechanisms remains scarce,” said lead author Dr Christina. of the study. C.Roggatz.
“We urgently need a systematic approach to be able to compare results and fully understand the potentially disruptive impact that climate change is having on every step of this fundamental communication process. Understanding this means we are better equipped to predict and protect the future of our planet.
According to study co-author Dr Jörg Hardege, as climate change continues, we need more research to predict the consequences at the level of species interaction. He noted that we need to research terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments to fully understand how species will function with the changes ahead. Without this research, we can only speculate.
Dr. Roggatz concludes that this article is a “red flag” because humans are part of the ecosystem and depend on it for essential functions. This communication breakdown will have serious consequences for all life on earth, including humans.
“The predominantly negative effects that climate change is having on the language of life in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could have a range of far-reaching implications for the future of our planet and human well-being, for example by affecting food security and the fundamental ecosystem services that make our planet habitable.
The study is published in the journal Biology of global change.
By Erin Moody , Terre.com Personal editor