According to a recent study, if the present global emission trajectories continue, more than 65% of plants and animals may become extinct by the end of this century. Emperor penguins, other seabirds, and dry soil nematodes are among the Antarctic species that are most in danger of going extinct, according to a study published on Thursday in the journal PLOS Biology.
The study is a result of an international effort involving researchers, environmentalists, and decision-makers from 28 institutions across 12 nations. With further increases in greenhouse gas emissions, it was discovered that "up to 80% of emperor penguin colonies are anticipated to be quasi-extinct by 2100 [population losses of more than 90%]".
The study concluded that Antarctica's existing conservation efforts are ineffective and suggested that an additional layer of defense, which is predicted to cost US$23 million annually, might safeguard up to 84% of the continent's fragile wildlife.
The distinctive plant and animal species of Antarctica are most at risk from climate change. The best approach to ensure their future is to reduce global warming. threats to the biodiversity of Antarctica. Land-based organisms in Antarctica have evolved to thrive on the planet's coldest, windiest, highest, and driest continent. Numerous bacteria, hardy invertebrates, two flowering plants, hardy moss and lichens, emperor and Adelie penguins, and hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds make up the species.
Additionally, Antarctica offers the world and humanity priceless benefits. It influences the global climate by driving ocean currents and air circulation and absorbing heat and carbon dioxide. Even Australia's weather is influenced by Antarctica.
Some people imagine Antarctica to be a secure, well-guarded wilderness. The animals and vegetation of the continent nevertheless face severe dangers. Climate change is foremost among them. Antarctica's ice-free regions are anticipated to grow as global warming becomes worse, drastically altering the wildlife environment. Additionally, it is projected that the vegetation and animals of Antarctica would suffer as extreme weather events like heatwaves increase in frequency.
Additionally, the yearly influx of scientists and visitors to the freezing continent might damage the ecology through pollution and other activities that affect the soil or flora. Additionally, the combination of increased human tourism and Antarctica's milder climate fosters the growth of invasive species. The specialists predicted how the animals of Antarctica would react to potential threats.
If present conservation efforts continue on their current course, the populations of 97% of Antarctic terrestrial species and breeding seabirds might potentially drop between now and 2100. 37% of the species populations would, at best, decline. By 2100, 65% of the continent's plants and animals are expected to disappear.
The emperor penguin is the most endangered species in Antarctica because it breeds on ice. In the worst situation, only the emperor penguin is at risk of going extinct by 2100.
The emperor penguin, which is about 115 cm tall, is the largest species of extant penguin. Once they have a partner, they typically stay together for life and cooperate to care for and protect their young. Emperor penguin breeding colonies can be found all along the coastline of Antarctica. As their colonies are on the sea ice and they even reproduce on the frozen sea, emperor penguins may be the only bird species that have never stepped foot on land. Emperor penguins are an essential component of the Antarctic food chain because they consume squid and other tiny fish and serve as a major food supply for huge sharks and other predators like leopard seals.
Naturally, preventing climate change, which is stated as the influencing foreign policy strategy, would be most advantageous. Up to 68% of terrestrial species and breeding seabirds would benefit from keeping global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less. A combination of local, national, and international conservation initiatives is required since Antarctica is under increasing strain from climate change and human activity. It is an unbelievable steal to spend only USD 23 million years to protect Antarctica's wildlife and ecosystems.