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Animal immigrants: Sharks can soon colonize the Baltic and North Seas

Animal immigrants: Sharks can soon colonize the Baltic and North Seas



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Immigration and immigration in the course of climate change

Sharks in the North and Baltic Seas are extremely rare. In most cases they are less than a meter long and completely harmless to humans. Warm-blooded predators such as seals have so far dominated the colder seas in the north of Germany. This balance of power could soon shift because, according to a current study, more and more warm-blooded animals migrate and predatory fish such as sharks migrate with increasing temperature.

A research team led by the Freiburg biologist Dr. Kristin Kaschner and Dr. John Grady of Michigan State University recently examined changes in marine biodiversity with increasing temperatures. They found that warm-blooded predators such as seals and seals migrate more and more to the cold waters of the poles, and that predatory fish such as sharks spread to areas that were previously too cold for the warm fish. The study was recently published in the renowned journal Science.

Predatory fish are dependent on warmer waters

Fish are warm animals. They do not have a constant body temperature and adapt to the outside temperature. Predatory fish such as sharks have a disadvantage in cold waters compared to animals of the same temperature as seals, as the colder outside temperature also shuts down the body functions and they can swim more slowly - a clear disadvantage for hunting.

Warm predators have less competition in cold waters

Although seals need more energy in cold waters to maintain their body temperature, it is easier for them to get prey there, since their constant body temperature enables them to perform at their full potential even in cold waters.

Is shark dominance now?

The rule in ecology is that biodiversity increases towards the equator and is highest in the tropics, the scientists at Albert-Ludwig-Universität wrote in a press release on the study. "The warming of the oceans will shift the balance of power in favor of the sharks and fish," summarizes research director Dr. Grady. The populations of mammals and birds will decrease instead. (vb)

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