By Kavya Balaraman
Coral reefs, kelp forests and other marine ecosystems may be tougher than we give them credit for, a new study suggests.
While countless scientific reports have documented the ravages of climate change on oceanic life, a survey of the researchers who wrote them provides a silver lining: An overwhelming majority noticed examples of sea life withstanding climate change.
“There are instances where sensitive ecosystems have shown remarkable resilience after climatic events. You can think of them as ‘bright spots’: They demonstrate that there are conditions under which ecosystems can persist even with major climate disturbances,” said Jennifer O’Leary, a marine conservation biologist with California Polytechnic State University and leader of the study.
The results of the survey were compiled in a report published in the journal BioScience. In all, 97 researchers were polled; 80 percent of those who had witnessed climatic disturbances also reported noting instances of resilience. A similar survey that looked at expert-recommended papers on ecosystems found examples of resilience in 85 percent of them.
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