Global warming has received increased attention from governments and nations worldwide. Due to carbon emissions of burning fossil fuels from automobiles and factories, the globe is now facing a warming trend. This warming trend can have catastrophic effects on all living organisms as environments adapt and evolve to a warmer climate. Global warming has the potential to harm all living things, due to this increase in temperature. It is estimated that, “emissions of greenhouse gases are expected to raise global mean temperatures over the next century to 1.0-3.5%”, (Shavery, Canadel, Chapin, et al., 2000). This will have numerous effects around the globe, causing a dramatic change in the environment. The harmful effect that global warming has on living organisms can be observed today. Countries around the world have observed changes in population and pattern of various living organism worldwide. “Receding glaciers, early blooming trees, bleached corals, acidifying oceans, killer heat waves, and butterflies retreating up mountain sides are likely all ultimately responses to the atmosphere’s growing burden of greenhouse gases”, (Kerr, 2007). This is a short list of many current and potential changes expected. From America to Japan and the United Kingdom, scientists are observing changes in living organisms that is caused by climate change. To combat this, various nations around the world are taking steps to improve air pollutions and air quality control. However, in the meantime, living organism are dying and adapting to a warmer world. As a result, the effect global warming has on organisms will be studied and analyzed, specifically amphibians, ducks, and arthropods.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consist of scientist worldwide, observing, experimenting, and reporting expected changes in the environment consistent with global warming. Their study predicted that by 2050, “up to 30% of species would be at increased risk of extinction”, (Kerr, 2007). Currently, the IPCC findings conclude that: winters in northern Europe will be less sever, arctic permafrost will thaw, the Mediterranean region will dry out, corals will decline, savanna will replace tropical rain forest, rising sea level will increase coastal flooding, mountain glaciers will disappear. As a result of these changes, living organism must change and adapt. Some organisms, as scientist predicted, have and will become extinct as a result. Currently, changes in the environment are threatening to animals, amphibians, other living things. This is because organisms must either adapt to environmental changes, migrate, or suffer annihilation. As a result, this analysis will demonstrate the effects global warming and environmental changes has on living organisms and various creatures.
Amphibians, including frogs, salamanders, and caecilians are popular in various regions worldwide. Amphibians are organisms that are “physiologically specialized to cool habitats”, (Bernardo & Spotila, 2006). As a result, they are susceptible to the effects of climate change. Amphibians require water for breeding, and dual environments for survival. “Salamanders [and]… a large proportion of frog species also fit this category that develops directly from terrestrial eggs that have no free-living larval stage; these small changes make them especially vulnerable to habitat changes”, (Wake & Vredenburg, 2008). With warmer temperatures, less precipitation, and droughts, water sources are being coming limited. In addition, the warming trend has caused some amphibians, frogs specifically, to become prone to illness. Research conducted by the National Academy of Science found that, population extinctions of yellow legged frogs in Yosemite, Sequoia, and King Canyon National Parks ranted from 91.3% to 98.1%, (Wake & Vredenburg, 2008). These numbers are devastating to the population. Of increased concern is the potential extinction of more animals as the globe continues to warm. However, the extinction of amphibians is not limited to North America. Studies conducted in Costa Rica found that twenty species of frogs are lost, an equivalent of 40% of the population while two species of the gastric brooding frogs of Australia have also disappeared, (Wake & Vredenburg, 2008).
The disappearance of frogs, salamanders, and toads is directly linked to global warming. Salamanders specifically are at risk as they lack the, “physiological capacity to tolerate warming”, (Bernardo & Spotila, 2006). This is seen as salamanders are unable to migrate or move to new and habitable regions. In addition, the environment change has also caused these amphibians to become susceptible to disease. “A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming”, (Wake & Vredenburg, 2008). This disease has claimed the existence of more than 200 species of amphibians worldwide and recognized as a serious threat to biodiversity around the globe. As such, “environmental impacts will continue to be enhanced by rising global temperatures and amphibian species will continue to decline and disappear”, (McMenamin, Nadley, & Wright, 2008).
As temperatures rise and precipitation declines, ponds and wetlands are receding, evaporating, and disappearing from the effects of global warming. Drought, lack of rain, and air moister will and continues to significantly alter various environments. As a result, this will change “aspects of wetland hydrology, biochemistry, and function”, (Sorenson, Goldberg, Root, & Anderson, 1998). One area of interest is the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. An area that covers the United States and Canada, the Prairie Potholes produced 50%-80% of the continents duck population, (Sorenson, Goldberg, Root, & Anderson, 1998). This region is known for its wetlands, waterholes, and destination spot for breeding and migrating birds. However, the effects of warming have caused negative results specifically for breeding populations. Increase in drought observed in the early 90’s caused a decline in wetlands resulting in the decline of duck population, (Sorenson, Goldberg, Root, & Anderson, 1998). Thus, the increase in temperatures has resulted in biological changes in the environment. Warmer weather in the Prairie Pothole means fewer wetlands available for breeding areas. As a result, ducks in this region are likely to continue decline.
Currently, the United Kingdom has noted changes in the migratory birds that populate the region during favorable seasons. These include ducks, geese, swans, and wading birds. Scientist concluded that birds are encouraged to spend winters elsewhere due the rise in climate. “Figures showed that the number of bewick swan were just half of those recorded last year, the lowest in 30 years”, (Albred, 2008). However, wading birds have displayed different behavioral patterns. One of which is the black tailed godwit which was observed in increasing numbers. Despite this, scientists continue to debate the reasoning. Some hypothesize birds are not migrating due to warming trends, while others theorize that it suggest population decline. Consequently, “while some are simply taking advantage of milder winters by staying on the continent, others like the Greenland white fronted goose are in real and rapid decline”, (Albred, 2008).
Global warming has displayed a significant impact on the arthropod, or insect population. “As insects and spiders are poikilothamic animals, their development is largely determined by temperature”, (Kiritani, 2006). As a result, while some arthropods have flourished under increased temperatures, others have faced annihilation. An increase in temperature has helped stimulate development and reproduction. In Japan, researchers found that, “global warming maybe responsible for the recent decline in diamond back moth and the increase in cottonball-worm moth and cabbage looper moth”, (Kiritani, 2006). Swelled in numbers, these moths are overwhelming crops and plant life in the region. Moths have eaten away at the agriculture as they feast on rice and mustard crops. The rise in temperatures has helped the cottonball-worm moth and the cabbage looper increase in population. Scientist predict these groups will only increase, producing as many as four generations within a year’s time, (Kiritani, 2006). This overpopulation of bugs can have disastrous effects on crop yields and encourage virus and disease.
Butterflies are known to be a species that migrate from one region to another for breeding and feeding. However, with the onset of global warming and an increase in temperature as high as 0.5%, butterflies have now increased in numbers. “The rapid response of increase of butterfly species, which established on the Nansei Island during the latter half of the 20th century is correlated with the elevation of surface temperature”, (Kirtitani, 2006). Consequently, not only are moths flourishing in warm temperatures but butterflies as well. However, the rise in population of moths has been devastating to crop production and agriculture. It suggests the negative consequences global warming can have in populations of insect species worldwide.
“A key prerequisite for predicting the effects of increased temperature is to describe how environmental changes effects the dynamics of populations and communities of living organisms”, (Kirtitani, 2006). As Earth continues to face global warming, it is important to recognize the effect that global warming has on living organisms. Although scientist have examined various effects of climate change on the environment including the rise of sea levels, drought, fires, and heat waves, it is important to be aware of how the changing environment will effect living things on the planet. From sea creatures and plant life, to mammals and arachnids, all living things will be affected by global warming. Although some species of creatures may become extinct due to the rise in temperature as seen in amphibians, other organisms such as arthropods will flourish.
Species are dying rapidly and becoming extinct as they struggle to survive in a hot and dry environment. “Climate change has been proposed for the disappearance of 100 species of tropical montane frogs” found in Central and Northern South America, (Wake & Vredenburg, 2008). Thus, global warming has already started to devastate living organisms around the global. However, worldwide, nations are doing what they can to slow down global warming. To combat the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air, large countries including the United States, India, and Asia are supporting clean energy through policy and promotion. Stopping global warming cannot happen overnight and will take time to occur. In the meantime, living organism must adapt and evolve in the changing environment or suffer from death and possible extinction as a result.
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