City uni experts' nature worries
RESEARCH led by scientists from Swansea University has found that cold water plankton are not adapting to climate change and could ultimately disappear from the oceans.
"There is overwhelming evidence that the oceans are warming," said PhD student Stephanie Hinder, of the university's department of biosciences and the lead author of the research team's paper. "The responses of animals and plants to this warming will fundamentally shape how the oceans look in future years and the nature of global fisheries."
The research involved scientists from Australia and Plymouth. They looked at the abundance and distribution of a common cold water and warm water plankton species in the North Atlantic over a 50-year timeframe.
Co-author Mike Gravenor, of the university's Institute of Life Science, said plankton were vital food for fish. "Surprisingly the cold water (plankton) species, has continued to contract its range over 50-years of warming," he said. "In other words, even over 50 generations, there is no evidence of adaptation."
The consequences, he added, were profound.