Global warming may cut lifespan of many species
Global warming could reduce the lifespan of hundreds of cold-blooded species around the world, a study by Israeli and Irish researchers has warned.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Queen’s University Belfast analyzed data from more than 4,100 land vertebrate species to test the long-accepted “rate of living” theory, which predicts that the faster the metabolic rate of an organism, the shorter the lifespan.
The researchers found that rates of aging in cold-blooded organisms are linked to high temperatures. Proposing an alternative hypothesis, their findings suggest that the hotter the environment is, the faster the rate of living – which in turn leads to more accelerated aging and a shorter lifespan. If increasing ambient temperatures reduces longevity, it may make these species more prone to go extinct as the climate warms.
Accordingly, global warming could reduce the lifespan of many cold-blooded species, subject to accelerated aging. The findings were published on Friday in Global Ecology and Biogeography, a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Busy Week for Antarctica
This week, an iceberg the size of Atlanta broke off the Pine glacier. Researchers discovered a dramatic decline in Antarctic penguin colonies. And Antarctica may have just registered its hottest temperature ever.
These events are all consistent with trends seen in Antarctica over the past few years. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the potentially record-breaking February temperatures were logged, is one of the fastest-warming regions on the planet.
The decline of the Antarctic penguin colonies provides evidence of the effects of this broader warming on the animals that inhabit these sensitive regions. The number of penguins on Elephant Island, where a recently released survey took place, is half what it was at the last survey in 1971. Climate change has removed these penguins’ primary food source, krill. Penguins, seals and whales all depend on krill, which depends on ice. So if climate change affects the ice, that impacts on everything else.
Another unusually high temperature was logged in the Antarctic Peninsula on February 9, when a weather station on Seymour Island produced a reading of almost 70 degrees.