The Florida manatee is a threatened species and as climate change begins affecting its main food source – seagrass, these ecosystem changes will bring an adverse effect to this marine mammal.
Greetings to you! As you know, I’ve been blogging on the subject of Climate Change. This week, I want to talk about the perils of climate change and how it affects manatees.
Unfortunately, climate change is already affecting the state of Florida. Ocean acidification from greenhouse gases is destroying coral. The streets of Miami flood during daily high tides. In fact, the city had to raise its streets in certain areas, some three feet to mitigate the rising water!
About 1,000 people move to Florida everyday for luxury homes, sunny shores and a retreat to the pandemic. It has “more than 70% of the population living or working along the state’s 1,197 miles of coastline. These coastal areas have always been threatened by hurricanes and flooding, but in recent years, a much more serious and long-term threat to the coasts has been identified: climate change.”
What Exactly is Climate Change?
Climate change proliferates over our atmosphere by the “rapid release of greenhouses gases (GHGs). These gases include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, and methane. And these gases trap heat from the Sun within our atmosphere.”
GHGs actually are caused by both natural and human-generated sources. Natural GHGs such as large meteors hitting the earth and volcanic eruptions have caused natural global climate change, which includes ice ages. These natural events did cause the extinction of many species, along with major changes to the Earth’s climate. However, the unique difference about the status of our current climate crisis is, “… the speed at which our climate is changing. These rapid changes are driven by human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is composed of thousands of independent scientists from across the globe.”
“These scientists review and consolidate climate change data to make policy decisions using the best available climate science, and they are not compensated for their time or contributions. The IPCC, in its most recent report, has concluded that most of the observed increases in average global temperatures during the last 50 years are attributable to anthropogenic (human-caused) GHG emissions.” The IPCC also stated, “…that the warming of the Earth’s climate is unequivocal and that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, snow and ice amounts have diminished, and sea level has risen.”
Climate research has shown that, “Increasing air and ocean temperatures cause glaciers at extreme northern and southern latitudes to melt, which leads to sea level rise. Additionally, warming water expands and has a greater volume than cold water, which further contributes to sea level rise. Global ocean temperatures will continue to rise throughout the 21st century, with the greatest amount of warming projected in the tropical and northern subtropical regions.”
“During the 20th century, sea level rose by 0.19m.” The IPCC forecasts that, “… average sea level may rise as much as 1 meter by 2100 if the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises about 700 ppm (parts per million).” And here’s the sobering news, “Even if we were to completely stop GHG emissions today, the effects of our rapidly changing climate would be felt for decades to come.”
So How Will Climate Change Affect Manatees?
While it’s true that manatees are warm-blooded and need water temperatures of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, warming ocean surface temperature due to climate change could benefit these marine mammals.
However, this view does not consider how manatees may be affected “… by countless other consequences associated with climate change, including sea level rise, changes in seagrass abundance and location, and loss of funding as agencies shift resources away from individual species in an attempt to confront climate change. Manatees are part of an interconnected aquatic ecosystem and are affected by the health of the plants and animals that share this and the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems.” Clearly, it is very plausible to assume as humans adapt to climate change, other species, including the threatened manatee will become even more adversely affected.
There is a new Kobee Manatee® Children’s Educational Picture Book coming out in September 2021,which talks more about this subject. It is titled, Kobee Manatee® Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard. This fourth installment of the award-winning Kobee Manatee® Children’s Educational Picture Book series teaches children all about climate change and plastic pollution with Dr. Tracy Fanara.
Kobee Manatee® Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard, is slated for release late September 2021!
Keep watching for more of my updates on climate change!
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC). They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee
Nasa Reveals Solid Evidence that “Climate Change” is Undoubtedly Real (August 25, 2016)