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Climate change ripples through life on Earth

Climate change is affecting most life on Earth, despite an average global temperature increase of just 1oC, say leading international scientists in a study published today in Science.

The scientific team, including researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), The University of Queensland and the Queensland Museum in Australia, identified key ecological processes necessary to support healthy terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems. The study found that 82% of these processes, affecting genes to entire ecosystems, have been impacted by global warming.

The effects of these changes extend beyond natural ecosystems and increasingly impact the health and wellbeing of human societies.

“Temperature extremes are causing evolutionary adaption in many species, changing them genetically and physically,” says Professor John Pandolfi of the Coral CoE and University of Queensland. “These responses include changes in tolerances to high temperatures, shifts in sex-ratios, reduced body size and migration of species.”

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