Effects of Environmental Change

Find an example (in the news or scientific literature) of how changes in the physical environment are affecting some organism.  Explain the changes that are occurring and how they have altered the environment.

As humans continue to aid the trend of global warming, climate conditions are changing for environments all over the globe. In this article, biologists address the impact of these changes on coral reefs, the most productive of all ecosystems on the planet. Coral, the organism that structurally defines this habitat, is essential to all other organisms that life in, on and around it. As greenhouse gasses continue to be emitted, average annual temperatures and ocean acidification increase. Higher global temperatures are increasing the ocean’s surface temperature, and acid rain is throwing off the pH balance of the water in some areas.

Coral struggles with temperature changes because warmer water puts the organism at risk for bleaching. This inhibits the organism and can eventually lead to death. When the pH of the ocean water decreases, the acidity can effect the coral’s calcification process, which alter’s growth patterns. Death and reduced growth of coral will devastate other species that rely on coral to provide structural support to reef habitats.



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