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‘How climate change is messing up the ocean’s biological clock, with unknown long-term consequences

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The article highlights how climate change is disrupting the timing of the phytoplankton spring bloom, an essential process in the ocean's biological calendar
• This alteration could significantly impact various marine species that rely on the bloom for food during crucial developmental stages, ultimately affecting the entire marine ecosystem

🔭 The context: Phytoplankton blooms act as annual oceanic metronomes, crucial for the survival and reproductive timing of numerous marine species, including zooplankton and fish
• The blooms are triggered by longer days, fewer storms, and the transition from winter to spring, leading to ocean re-stratification
• However, climate change is causing these blooms to occur earlier, challenging the adaptability of marine life

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This disruption in the ocean's biological clock underlines the extensive reach of climate change, affecting not just terrestrial but also marine ecosystems
• The potential mismatch between the timing of phytoplankton blooms and the life cycles of marine species could have profound implications for biodiversity, fisheries, and global food security

⏭️ What's next: The article suggests that while some regions, like the Newfoundland and Labrador shelf, may initially benefit from climate-induced changes in bloom timing, the long-term ecological consequences remain uncertain
• Ongoing research aims to better understand these dynamics and predict future changes, highlighting the need for adaptive management strategies in marine conservation and fisheries

💬 One quote: "This new mechanism successfully predicts the timing of the phytoplankton spring bloom over more than two decades. It also allows us to better understand the impacts that climate change is having upon our oceans," (Frédéric Cyr, Adjunct Professor, Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland)

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