A paper published today finds that very little research into how males and females respond differently to climate change has been carried out, and that could be a real goldmine for advocates of policy changes.
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, according to Dr. Robert Ellis the University of Exeter. Any effect on spawning, settlement or survival could have a major impact on sustainable supplies of fish and shellfish, which is obvious but somewhat irrelevant when the goal is to note that less than 4% of climate-change studies have tested the impact of ocean acidification on males and females separately.
"For marine animal populations to thrive and support sustainable fisheries, the males and females of each species need to reach sexual maturity, and deliver their eggs and sperm in the right place and at the right time. However, the needs of the two sexes during their development are often quite different. Environmental management can potentially devise separate strategies to target key phases in the lifecycle of males and females, respectively, with the aim of minimizing the influence of climate change on their development and ultimately the success of the species," says Ellis.
If estimates are accurate, CO2 levels could be up to 2.5 times higher in the oceans by the end of this century, which would cause the ocean to acidify at a rate unprecedented for 300 million years.