Academic journal article Science and Children

Biodiversity Protects Fish from Climate Change

Academic journal article Science and Children

Biodiversity Protects Fish from Climate Change

Article excerpt

Short news items of interest to the scientific community

Biodiversity could help fish thrive through the coming decades.

According to a new study, communities with more fish species are more productive and more resilient to rising temperatures and temperature swings. The accelerating loss and rearrangement of species all over the globe have troubled scientists and the public for decades. But the question of whether biodiversity offers practical value--for humans and ecosystems--remained controversial. The new study offers the most thorough proof yet that preserving marine biodiversity can benefit people as much as it benefits the oceans.

"Biodiversity is more than a pretty face," says lead author Emmett Duffy. "Preserving biodiversity is not just an aesthetic or spiritual issue--it's critical to the healthy functioning of ecosystems and the important services they provide to humans, like seafood."

The discovery came out of the Reef Life Survey, a comprehensive program that has conducted surveys of more than 3,000 fish species in 44 countries around the world. Many of the surveyors were volunteer citizen scientists, about a third of whom had no scientific background. Volunteer divers from 11 countries received training from the program's lead scientists at the University of Tasmania to collect data using standardized methods.

The researchers tracked how 11 different environmental factors influenced total fish biomass on coral and rocky reefs around the world. …

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