(Images via: Turtle Journal, University of South Florida, Baraza, Zaxy, Indian Cowboy)
Raise your hand if you think this winter has seemed unseasonably cold and cruelly long. While it’s quite easy for humans to get frustrated by the interminable, chilly winter months, at least we can take extra measures (e.g. stay inside, wear more layers of clothing, etc.) to protect ourselves. For some animals, they are not as lucky. Despite many creatures being cold-weather warriors, other animals, including Florida tropical fish and cold-stunned sea turtles, have struggled to survive in the brutal cold. On the other end of the spectrum, global warming continues to have detrimental effects on the animal kingdom, with new research revealing new threats to gorillas, monkeys, lobsters, oysters, scallops and clams.
Cold Weather Ravages Florida Tropical Fish
(Images via: My Cichlid Tank, The Fish Lodge, Aquascape Online, Palm Beach Post)
Just how bad has the winter weather been on tropical fish in Florida? Well, residents have come to describe the situation as the 2010 Fish Kill. Due to the cold weather, many rivers, ponds and even commercial fishing operations have been overwhelmed by floating fish that froze to death. Consequently, wildlife experts and conservations have been trying to save and sustain the fish by pumping in warmer water into their habitats. Unfortunately, the effects of the cold weather have already taken a toll on African cichlid (bottom left), marble molly (top right), danio (bottom right) and other Florida tropical fish, which are expected to decline 50% in population.
NASA Helps Save Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles
(Images via: Tumblr, Turtle Journal, Riverhead Foundation)
Tropical fish aren’t the only marine animals facing grave dangers from unseasonably cold weather in Florida. As a result of water temperatures reaching less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, green and loggerhead sea turtles have become cold-stunned (i.e. sluggish and lethargic). How rare is this occurrence? Cold stunning was last documented in 1989. Thankfully, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was able to join forces with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to aid at least some of these turtles. The Commission has evacuated and medically evaluated 270 turtles, which will be released into Kennedy’s Mosquito Lagoon once the weather gets better.
Global Warming Indigestion Threatens Gorillas and Monkeys
(Images via: Gorilla Doctors, Susty, Super Green Me, Science Blogs, West Side Safari)
While severe temperature drops affect Florida tropical fish and different types of sea turtles, global warming is still a serious threat to many animals, including gorillas and monkeys. According to a new study, a reasonable temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e. 2 degrees Celsius) from global warming could make leaves more fibrous and less digestible. Consequently, mountain gorillas and African colobines that largely rely on these leaves for sustenance could have more difficult times processing this food, forcing them to become less active and possibly even threatening their ability to survive. Based on the study’s hypothesis, it is unknown whether such primates would be able to adapt their diets to such global warming changes, especially if a majority of their time was spent sitting around and processing less beneficial food compared to hunting for new food and sustaining populations via mating.
Supersized Lobsters Sound Great But Could Be Dangerous
(Images via: Last Day Report, Soda Head, Get a Huge Tank, Barrier Reef Australia)
With carbon dioxide rises from climate change, the oceans are expected to become more acidic, which could mean supersized lobsters, crabs (bottom left) and shrimp (bottom middle). While this possibility may sound enticing to sea food lovers, more acidic oceans have negative effects on oysters, scallops, and clams (bottom right), all of which have struggled to build their shells in simulated conditions. Consequently, such developments could throw off the food chain, resulting in superbly huge and constantly hungry predators and increasingly weakened prey.