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Climate change is creating hungrier, more vicious ocean predators: study

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As oceans warm across the globe, marine predators are poised to become more and more aggressive according to new research, potentially leaving countless species and marine ecosystems on the edge of imbalance.

Researchers ran experiments ranging from locking prey species up in cages to putting “squid pops” out to measure how many predators came to chow down depending on what temperature of water they lived in.

It’s long been observed that marine predators are more vicious in tropical waters, but with climate change driving the warming of waters worldwide, researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) wanted to study what implications this could have for the future. RELATED STORIES

Usually, temperature shifts that drive big change in marine ecosystems take place over millenia, not a matter of decades.

“It’s taken thousands of years to get to this state, and then suddenly we’re ramping up the temperature at a much higher rate,” Gail Ashton, lead author of the new report and marine biologist with SERC, said in a press release. “And we don’t really know the implications of that temperature increase.”

An international team of researchers led by the SERC performed experiments on marine predators and prey at 36 sites on the […]

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