Global change is a change in the Earth systems such as life, atmosphere, seas, and land. Global change comprises climate, economy, globalization, communication, populations, carbon cycle, sea levels, etc. Change in climate affects living organisms in many ways. For example, global warming may make living organisms to migrate for high altitude which is a bit cooler than lower elevations for the sake of survival. Additionally, when the level of sea rises, there are high chances that they will be an intrusion of salt which makes species to die or move to other places thus removing predators which are main vital factors in the food chain. The following are significant impacts of ecological impacts of global change:
- Variations of seasonal life events
For many living organisms, the location where they spend their life influence main stages of yearly life cycle changes such as breeding, migration and blossoming. The timing of these annual seasons has changed in different parts of the world due to global change. Many of the species are different from each other on how they reproduce or migrate thus global change has led to mistiming of migration and breeding. The survival and growth of these organisms have become minimal because the unfortunate timing of movement has led to arrival to another location before food availability.
- Shift of range
As the world gets hotter and hotter day by day due to global warming, the species are migrating to high elevations. In the last decade, the study reveals that animals, and plants, as well as the aquatic environment, are moving to high altitude at a rate of 36 feet per decade. This means that they will increase in competition, harsh habitat and reductions of range because some of the organisms are already on top thus they have nowhere to move. There will be a high extinction of many plants and animals.
- Disruptions of the food chain and web
The effect of global change on specific living organisms can have adverse effects on the food chain and food web for other species. When one species is disrupted in one ecosystem, they will be those organisms who die and others increase in number. A perfect example is sea algae when it is affected by global change, those species which depend on it decrease in populations and the chain later affects other organisms.
- Threshold and protection impacts
Ecological systems always serve as protective mechanisms in cases such as flooding, drought and fire. Global change and human activities can cause these ecosystems to behave abnormally and can lead to vulnerability and damage.
- Spread of diseases
Pathogens and parasites can spread quickly due to change in climate. They cause various conditions which have severe impacts on human beings and agriculture as well as fisheries.
Global change with habitat damage and environmental pollution is among the key factors that cause many species to face high risks of extinction. The IPCC study shores that about 30% of plants and animals globally will face extinction if the temperatures reach a certain level that is expected. Majorly, these species are those that lie in high altitude or mountains such as pika. Additionally, animals that depend on seafood will also face extinction.