Last year, warmer waters caused by climate change brought a record number of white sharks to the West Coast. But a new study shows that their prey are suffering the cost.
“White sharks aren’t just another species – they’re an apex predator and all eyes are on them in the ocean,” Kyle Van Houtan, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, told the Guardian. “What we’ve detected here is just a harbinger of much broader patterns.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE RIGHT NOW
ELON MUSK CREATES $100M PRIZE FOR REMOVING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM THE AIR
UN NAMES MIKE BLOOMBERG SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
BIDEN SIGNS LANDMARK EXECUTIVE ORDERS TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE. HERE’S WHAT THEY DO.
BIDEN PAUSES NEW OIL AND GAS LEASING ON PUBLIC LANDS AND WATERS
The North Pacific marine heatwave between 2014 and 2016 drove a dramatic increase in white sharks in Monterey Bay, according to the study published in Science Reports, most of which were juveniles. Their arrival spelled disaster for local fish populations and other protected species, including otters, which saw an 86 percent decline in population.
“The sharks are not the problem – climate change is the problem,” Houtan told the Guardian. “The sharks are telling us that the ocean is changing and it’s now time for us to do something about it.”
America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.
The study also showed the effectiveness of community science data streams, an emerging method of data collection that utilizes citizen journalists. Using apps such as iNaturalist, any smartphone user can submit information about encounters with wildlife and their observations.
“The emergence of juvenile white sharks in Monterey Bay was unexpected, sudden, and outpaced established scientific monitoring programs. As a result, we developed an index of abundance from community science and recreational fishery records and our project highlights the strategic importance of such initiatives,” said the researchers.
READ MORE LIKE THIS FROM CHANGING AMERICA
NEW FISHING PROTECTIONS SPELL WIN FOR MAINE’S PUFFIN POPULATION
WILDLIFE GROUPS CHALLENGE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ON GRAY WOLF DELISTING
THERE’S AT LEAST ONE GROUP 2020 WAS GOOD FOR: GREAT WHITE SHARKS
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ALLOWS FOR THE KILLING OF NATIVE ELK TO APPEASE RANCHERS, ANGERING CONSERVATIONISTS
CRY LEVIATHAN: A WARNING FROM THE WORLD’S WHALES
Credit: Source link